PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 May, 2009, 12:00am

Education Bureau needs to rethink its stance on teaching evolution

I was dismayed to read the Education Bureau's bizarre guidance for the teaching of biology ('Evolution advice confuses,' Education Post, May 1).

The Education Bureau states: 'In addition to Darwin's theory, students are encouraged to explore other explanations for evolution and the origins of life, to help illustrate the dynamic nature of scientific knowledge.'

There are several problems with this statement. Firstly, the modern theory of evolution is not Darwin's theory, it is a theory to which Darwin contributed. Secondly, there is no such thing as an explanation of evolution; evolution itself is an explanation. Thirdly, there is no scientific explanation for the origin of life other than evolution, a point made clear in a joint statement by the national academies of science in 65 countries, including China, on June 21, 2006.

Sadly, the likely explanation for the Education Bureau's guidance is that the global anti-science movement has infiltrated the Education Bureau. The corruption of science education in Hong Kong is no small matter. It is to science that we must turn to fight pandemics and it is to science that we must turn to ameliorate climate change. Furthermore, children learn from the actions of their teachers. By giving dishonest guidance, the Education Bureau is teaching children to be dishonest.

That the anti-science movement has apparently been able to subvert the Education Bureau makes a mockery of the government's plans to establish Hong Kong as an education hub. It is imperative that the government strikes back to limit the damage.

Education Bureau personnel who are acting in direct contradiction of their duty should be terminated to make an example. The government should act to head off what is often the second prong of the anti-science movement's assault on an education system: attempts to lobby or pressure individual science teachers. To safeguard against this the Education Bureau should require that science teachers explain to students why creationism and intelligent design are not science.


GSIS deserves credit for Ma On Shan move

After reading the 'Group of concerned parents want only what is best for GSIS' (Education Post, April 24), I would like to share some of my personal views.

I was a member of the group of parents against the move to Ma On Shan but I changed my view towards GSIS's decision after my last meeting with the school on the feasibility of my proposed alternative solution and other possible options in February. Before the meeting, I strongly objected to GSIS's decision of decanting to Ma On Shan because at that time I believed that the school should have had some alternative options including my proposed solution of decanting the lower primary students to Pok Fu Lam while retaining the upper primary students at The Peak campus during the renovation period.

After the meeting I was convinced that it would not be feasible to adopt my proposed solution by knowing more information and data analysis. Because of various limitations, there isn't also any better option available at least not in the coming few years. The school has been putting its greatest effort in sorting out all possible options to solve the pressing space problem and to enhance the learning environment, especially for the past few years.

One has to review all the information, facts and data compiled before one can really understand why the school doesn't do this or can't do that. Almost all possible options one can think about have been considered, pursued, reviewed and analysed by the school.

I was also one of the parents who had a meeting with some senior officials of the Education Bureau in February. After the meeting, I clearly knew what efforts the school had gone to before and the prolonged negotiations with the bureau in sorting out better decanting sites. I also understood all the complications and limitations involved including the legislation and policies of the government, the involvement of many other government departments and the competition for school sites or decanting sites among other international schools.

After reviewing the whole picture, I think that GSIS's decision is wholly for the long-term benefit of the school although parents and students may have to suffer for a few years.

I intend to let my boy (in year three) stay in GSIS until completing year 13 just before entering university. Therefore, I prefer to tolerate the two-year inconvenience of decanting to Ma On Shan but, in return, will expect a much better learning environment for my boy for his seven years of secondary school life. I would also hope that the school takes action according to the plan and schedule otherwise if the renovation plan is further delayed, he will only enjoy the new facilities for a shorter time and his learning may be affected when he is in the most critical last few years of secondary education.

I understand that some affected students plan to stay in GSIS or even in Hong Kong for only a few years and they will suffer from the decanting without any benefits in return. The strong opposition from those parents is understandable as every parent will strive for the best interest of their child.

I respect everyone's view and position but I am sad to see the split in the GSIS community. The opposition action is damaging the unity and harmony of the GSIS community and draining the school's resources, which should be focused on the improvement of our children's education.

Should we try to stop or delay the renovation of a hotel we intend to stay in because of the inconvenience caused during our few days there? I would stay in the hotel if I think it is the best available or will find another if I cannot tolerate the inconvenience.

Are we pursuing the best for GSIS or the best for ourselves?

K.K. LEE, father of Anson Lee, YO3C, Chai Wan