Government must ensure widespread use of e-learning in our schools

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 January, 2012, 12:00am


The provision of one-off grants to schools for purchasing e-learning resources is well-intentioned. Schools are free to buy these resources and set up an e-platform for their transaction.

As a prospective teacher, I am trained to capitalise on the opportunities brought about by all sorts of digital platforms. Universities offer courses on computer-aided teaching. They may seem practical, but the theory-reality gap is evident in real educational settings.

Digital learning is not yet widely practised. The success of e-learning is dependent on two factors, resource availability and its culture of use. E-resource platforms are gradually being put in place, but some teachers, especially those who have been in the field for a long time, are strongly reliant on textbooks.

The development of the Depository of Curriculum-based Learning and Teaching Resources seems a wise course of action. The fact that it has been given additional resources is a direct response to the need for a more centralised and focused effort from practitioners. Now that the hardware is ready, we are left with the question of how to make the use of e-learning resources a habit.

This a question the government should answer. Education policies have become bogged down during the final term of Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.

In the 2008 policy address, Mr Tsang pledged to 'enhance students' ability for self-learning and interactive learning, and to promote the use of e-books rather than printed copies by developing electronic learning resources'. However, a look at his record since then will attest to how much he has achieved in this area.

Our government has long been aware that the frequently revised textbooks have imposed a burden on parents and that textbook prices have increased substantially. It could alleviate this burden by promoting full implementation of e-learning, but has failed to do so.

Given the government's failure to deal effectively with textbook publishers, there is now an even greater need for widespread use of e-learning in schools.

Hardware and monetary support are crucial, yet the government should go further to incubate an environment under which teachers are bold in their implementation of e-learning.

Borromeo Li Ka-kit, Kwun Tong