Education reforms 'eliminate choice'

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 January, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 January, 2000, 12:00am

KEY Education Commission proposals to reform the primary and secondary school system have been attacked for eliminating student choice.

Chinese University Dean of Science Professor Lau Oi-wah said she opposed the scrapping of the two-stream system, under which Form Four students select between humanities and science.

She also objected to the merging of the Certificate of Education Examination in Form Five and A-level in Form Seven, saying it would undermine the three-year university degree system.

The university's science faculty has stated its objections and made counter-proposals to the Curriculum Development Council and Education Commission.

'The new proposal would take away any choice from the student, forcing him to take both humanities and science subjects,' said Professor Lau at a science education conference at the university.

'The two-stream system should be kept, but with built-in flexibility to allow students to specialise if they want to and [to accommodate] others who may wish to pursue subjects in both humanities and science.' The commission made proposals in September to overhaul the system from kindergarten to university.

Key suggestions include abolishing the banding system for secondary schools.

The commission wants to promote life-long learning, and says a 'no-loser' principle would stop banding poor-performance students into separate schools.

Professor Lau also questioned this plan. 'By emphasising 'no loser', it may end up producing more,' she said.

Commission members could not be reached for comment yesterday.