Chinese school learns from HK
ADELEGATION from a special Beijing school is visiting the territory in a cultural exchange tour.
Beijing Jingshan School principal Cui Mengming said mutual understanding and exchange with other countries was necessary for both school authorities and students in China.
Jingshan School is an educational reform experimental institution based in the Chinese capital.
'Co-operation and learning from the strengths of others to overcome our weaknesses is necessary for the development of China's culture and education,' Mr Cui said.
He said the experience was especially important for students to view education from a different perspective. 'They can learn the features of Hong Kong's education and compare it with that of their own and see if there is anything that needs to be improved.' Jingshan's education direction is based on patriarch Deng Xiaoping's statement made to the school in 1983, which says that 'education needs to be modernised to face the world and the future.' Mr Cui said exchange should not only be confined to oriental education, but also include Western education principles and methods.
Since 1981, eight students from the school travel to the United States each year for a term as exchange students. A similar number of American students come to Beijing under the programme.
The principal said exchange programmes would be further developed to include other countries, such as France and Korea. He said the first batch of students was expected to set off for both countries in September.
As an experimental school, Jingshan was allowed to develop its own syllabus, teaching methods and school management, Mr Cui said.
He said education should encourage the development of students' talents because it was the base on which the quality of society rested.
'If we over-emphasise the importance of academic studies, then the individuality of each student would be destroyed. The level of performance of a society is based on the performance of each individual.' Mr Cui, however, said a broad foundation was still necessary. The over 1,800 students are offered a choice of over 100 extra-curricular activities and are required to take up classes such as needlework, bicycle repair, gymnastics and computers.
Cathy Gu Kaijia, 15, one of the students chosen for the tour, said selection was based on their ability to perform in the areas they were strong in, which ranged from dancing to musical instrument playing.
Cathy said she was aware of the influence the environment had over the shaping of people's character. 'I was impressed by Hong Kong people's passionate response to our performance . . . We are more soft-spoken because in Beijing discipline is highly stressed, and we learn to express our feelings and emotions in less explicit ways,' Cathy said.
The tour party consists of 25 students ranging in age from eight to 17; their visit ended yesterday.