E-learning trend must be embraced

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 January, 2012, 12:00am


Whether or not new technology makes it easier for students to learn remains a matter of academic debate. But the growing dependence on computers - in all their different forms - for information and entertainment has meant that members of our young generation are more likely to be seen glued to a computer screen or game console than reading books these days.

The shift to a digital age has made e-learning an inevitable trend. It is the future and we should be making the most of the opportunity.

The benefits of e-learning are evident. The teaching materials are easy to update and manage. They are relatively less costly, greener to produce and healthier to children who would otherwise be weighed down by schoolbags stuffed with books.

Not surprisingly, governments around the world have long embraced the trend and invested more resources. For instance, Singapore launched an ambitious project as early as 1997 to become an 'intelligent nation' by 2015, with a three-phase plan to integrate information and communications technology into the education system. Our government, however, is still dragging its feet.

A government-appointed taskforce to review teaching and learning materials opted for a cautious approach. It was not until January last year that a major e-learning pilot scheme was implemented, covering 21 projects in only 61 schools. With a budget of HK$59 million, the money spent is disproportionate to benefits set to be gained.

Without a mandatory e-learning policy, Hong Kong is set to lose out in this important area.

All eyes will now be on how the government will honour its pledge to roll out more e-learning measures after the education chief has failed to introduce more competition in the printed textbook market. We need to rise up to the challenge and embrace the future.