Public clamour 'will sway decision on scrapping primary tests'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 December, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 December, 1999, 12:00am

Aptitude tests for primary school students could be scrapped, the head of the Education Commission suggested yesterday.

Completing the second phase of the commission's consultation period on education reform, Antony Leung Kam-chung said the 2,500 written submissions overwhelmingly supported the idea of abolishing the 21-year-old tests.

Every Primary Six student must take the test, with the results helping to determine Secondary One admission.

'The original aim of the tests was to evaluate logical thinking and the verbal ability of pupils. But we found schools were spending two years preparing students for these examinations,' Mr Leung said.

'No one can see their academic value,' he said, adding that the tests put huge pressures on students.

Mr Leung said the commission had not reached a final decision on abolition, but stressed: 'There are strong voices from the public to replace them.' Commission member Tai Hay-lap, said the exact date for phasing out the tests would depend on when a replacement mechanism could be set up.

He said the commission would soon consult the public on a replacement for the tests.

The commission is also studying other education policies, such as reforming the banding system, Primary One admission, and the introduction of a core competency test to help identify students' strengths and weaknesses at an early age.

The Government's think-tank hopes final proposals can be given to the Chief Executive by June.