Providing an alternative route for students
THE Hong Kong Pre-vocational Schools Council feels that the contents of the letter ''Marking out the misfits'' (South China Morning Post, December 30) warrant clarification.
Among pre-vocational schools, the technical and commercial curriculum content is intended to be expositional rather than vocational for students' future development.
The 23 pre-vocational schools, expanding to 25 this summer, offer an alternative route in the present educational system, the major component of which is the grammar schools, numbering more than 400.
The broad curriculum in pre-vocational schools offers three exit points for students at F3, F5 and F7 and their choices and successes in further studies and careers are consequences of market opportunities and competition.
Hence, if ''only eight per cent of pupils picked up apprenticeship programmes with the Vocational Training Council'' as the article stated, that should not create any problem in the system because pre-vocational schools are not feeder schools of VTC institutes and the pre-vocational schools play a similar role to any other secondary schools in providing a sound basic education with learning opportunities in practical, technical and commercial subjects.
The educational philosophy and belief of pre-vocational school workers may be summarised as follows: We respect the educational rights of students and we accept that there are different aptitudes and abilities among students; We respect the educational choices of students and parents in the pre-vocational system, or otherwise, and we believe choice is crucial in the freedom of education; We believe the pre-vocational system allows students to develop their potential, and the system provides adequate opportunities and information for them to make better career judgements; We believe there is much work to be done to improve the quality of teaching among pre-vocational schools, especially in the use of modern technology, for example, computer-assisted learning facilities and computer networking facilities - the curriculum content must also be reviewed periodically to cater for contemporary needs.
Pre-vocational schools are preparing students for life, just like any other secondary schools in Hong Kong and we certainly have the vision and the intention of providing quality education to our students beyond 1997.
After all, pre-vocational students are just young citizens learning to take up their place in society like any other students.
Please be kind enough to stop labelling the students as ''misfits'' and recognise the work of the honest, hard-working teachers of the pre-vocational schools.
LAU YIU-FAI Chairman Hong Kong Prevocational Schools Council