Whole-day primary schools have gained general recognition for being more effective in enhancing pupils’ learning and all-round development than half-day primary schools. At present, there are more than 400 primary schools in Hong Kong offering whole-day schooling. They are available in all districts throughout Hong Kong. Whole-day primary school places provided by government, aided and DSS whole-day primary schools are sufficient to accommodate all primary school students in the territory. Longer school hours and additional resources provided by the Education Bureau have enhanced the quality of primary education for students.
Benefits of Whole-day Primary Schooling
Students can enjoy more diverse learning experiences as normally they spend an average of about 7 hours a day in schools. These may include programmes for promoting reading to learn, moral and civic education, national education, religious education, students’ physical and aesthetic development, the use of information technology for interactive learning, cross-curricular learning and other learning experiences to enhance students’ whole-person development and lifelong learning capabilities.
Schools also enjoy more flexibility in timetable setting, as they may arrange more double periods, longer periods of 45-55 minutes or a combination of long and short periods to provide a wide range of learning experiences to meet different learning needs and objectives. For example, schools may allocate more class teacher periods to provide moral and civic education and to help students consolidate learning; and arrange tutorial sessions to cater for students who need extra help in academic work so that they can do their assignments under a teachers’ guidance. Also, extra-curricular activities may be conducted during school hours.
Whole-day schooling also fosters student-teacher relations as they have more interactions which facilitate counselling work and behavioural modification and improvement. Students can be given more chances to socialise with peers as their recess time is now longer (about 40 minutes in total) and there is a lunch break of about an hour at school. It also provides opportunities for schools to build up a close working relationship with parents. For example, a regular school day may start between 8 a.m. and 8.30 a.m. so that parents can bring their children to school before going to work hence strengthening teacher-parent relationships.