Survey reveals principals' concerns over new senior secondary curriculum

Most believe it does not bring an enjoyable learning experience for pupils, survey shows

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 June, 2013, 5:13am

Many principals have serious doubts about how enjoyable the new senior secondary curriculum is for pupils, a survey shows.

A group of 176 secondary school principals were asked to rate statements from the government's review published in April. More than 60 per cent disagreed that subjects in the curriculum had brought their pupils "enjoyable learning experiences".

The survey - conducted by the Hong Kong Association of the Heads of Secondary Schools - took 23 statements from the government's report and asked principals to rate them from 1 to 5. The statements reflect the Education Bureau's opinions on the new curriculum's achievements, the reviewing system and medium to long-term measures to improve the curriculum.

Principals gave the lowest score, 2.25, to the statement claiming that most pupils found subjects in the new curriculum interesting and enjoyable to learn, citing reasons such as too much school-based assessment and study pressures.

Dr Stanley Ho Sai-mun, vice-chairman of the association, said a score below 3 showed that most principals did not agree with the statement.

Most also disagreed with government statements praising the diversity of the curriculum and its efficiency in stimulating study and educating well-rounded pupils, because they believed examination scores were still the major criteria in judging pupils in the new curriculum.

"The survey shows colleagues in the education field hold different views from the Education Bureau in the achievements of the new curriculum," said Ho.

In the survey, many agreed that the inclusion of moral and civic education, community services, career-related experiences and aesthetic and physical development in the new curriculum could provide pupils with more opportunities to develop in different fields.

However, they complained that it was difficult for pupils and schools to spend enough time on these subjects due to teachers' heavy workloads, exam pressures on pupils and the minor position these experiences take in university entrance assessment.

They also agreed that the government should set up working groups to improve the school-based assessment and the new curriculum's nine subjects.