Overlords do not listen to multiple subject fears

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 January, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 January, 1998, 12:00am

I write in response to Peter Wong's letter, 'Present education system not cost-effective' (South China Morning Post, December 29). Mr Wong, people like me do care what happens to our children and our education system.

I agree that students in Hong Kong have to take too many subjects, and as a secondary-school teacher I have observed some overlap.

The main reason is that subjects are confused with ideals. Those wanting students to be good citizens insist they take civic studies. And as they should know more about Hong Kong, they have to start Hong Kong studies. But these themes are not sufficient to comprise separate disciplines.

An example is the Chinese version of S1 civic studies. Topics include personal health, including the harmful effects of smoking and soft drugs, and interpersonal communication and management skills like making new friends and making good use of the time.

The same topics are repeated in integrated science (S3), biology/human biology (S4 and S5 science stream), and religious studies (S3, S4, S5).

As a teacher, I am ashamed to say I have never shared my ideas with my colleagues or principal. The topic is simply too sensitive because abolishing subjects means losing jobs.

The Education Department is too bureaucratic, and although it spends public funds the public has little input on education issues. The implementation of guidelines for the language of instruction is an example.

As the Education Department does not seem to care about the wishes of the wider community, it is hard to imagine it has much time either for the opinions of those within the education system.