Structural change will see school's students get ready for world of work

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 May, 2009, 12:00am

The much-maligned rigid local education system faces some revolutionary changes in September with the launch of the new senior secondary curriculum.

One feature will be the introduction of 'other learning experiences' that enable students to learn outside the classroom. These can include joining arts projects, doing community service and getting work experience.

In response to the government's call to diversify students' experiences, Caritas Charles Vath College on Lantau Island has launched a work experience scheme for students to learn practical skills through internships at social and commercial organisations.

Principal Lee Kwok-wai said the school placed great emphasis on work experience to equip students with skills for employment. 'Purely academic studies preclude students from gaining work skills,' he said. 'If students fail academically, they will find it difficult to get a job upon graduation. We have to take into account the fact that not all students want to further their studies after they finish the public exam.'From September, senior students will have to take four compulsory subjects and two electives. By the end of their three-year senior secondary studies, they will have to clock up 300 hours of work experience. The six kinds of work experience on offer include physical fitness and training, hospitality, professional design and clubhouse and property management.

'Students have to choose one out of the six work schemes,' Mr Lee said.

'We have struck deals with a travel agency, property management company and other organisations that will allow our students to observe how their employees work. At the travel agency, students will get the chance to design itineraries, learn Japanese and learn how to book plane tickets.' Mr Lee said his school was the only one in Hong Kong to put so much focus on work experience. 'Other schools evenly distribute the hours among different learning experiences.

'The 300 hours of work experience are an extra requirement that other schools don't have. Our students also have to complete 100-odd hours of other activities to fulfil the government's requirement.'

Mr Lee said the scheme could allow students to grasp the inner workings of local industries. 'The qualifications provided by the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education are not enough. The work scheme can enhance their employability in the cut-throat job market.'


Caritas Charles Vath College (senior secondary only), Lantau Island

Year of establishment: 2003

Number of students: 400

School sponsoring body: Caritas Hong Kong

Medium of instruction: Chinese