Adviser calls for fewer classes, more thought

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 May, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 5:52pm

Schools should slash the number of classes to cut teachers' workload and allow pupils time to develop creative thinking, a veteran education policy adviser suggested yesterday.

Speaking at a lecture hosted by the Hong Kong Institute of Education, chairman of the Board of Education Moses Cheng Mo-chi called for educators to adopt more innovative methods. In its consultation paper unveiled on Monday, the Education Commission suggested that parts of the curriculum be cut to let schools adopt such methods. Subjects will be reorganised into eight areas of study.

Some schoolteachers support the reforms but say there is little room under tight schedules. Many have to attend six or seven classes a day.

'Fifteen to 20 per cent of periods should be cut to relieve the workload on teachers. The time saved could then be redeployed to nurture students' creative thinking and all-round development,' said Mr Cheng, who is also a member of the Education Commission.

He said it was important to upgrade the professional status of teachers and he pledged to push the Government to set up the general teaching council as soon as possible. The Government has promised to establish such a council this year but no date has been announced.

Some elite schools fear the commission's proposal to limit freedom to select pupils may lead to their demise. There is also speculation many parents may rush to catchment areas where elite schools are located.

'What we need is the overall enhancement of student quality, not only a handful of 'elite' students,' said Mr Cheng. 'We should take a macro point of view in the reform process.' He frowned upon parents moving to certain catchment areas: 'Parents should no longer worship the elite schools.'