THE School-based Curriculum Tailoring, a pilot project introduced last September to help Band Five students improve academically, has demonstrated initial success, says a survey conducted by an education concerned group. Education Convergence, which carried out a survey on three schools earlier this year, revealed that about half of the 40 teachers interviewed felt the project was highly effective. One third found it 'quite effective', while the rest raised no objections to carrying on with it. The group said it was time for the Education Department's Curriculum Development Institute (CDI), which initiated the project, to reveal its plan for the next phase of the three-year project. The project involved 10 Band Five schools in its first year, and is scheduled to extend to all 70 such schools in the territory by the next academic year. At present, a Central Curricular Development Support Team (CCDST), composed of six experienced educators, regularly visit the 10 schools to introduce ideas and help teachers tailor their teaching materials to the needs of their students. 'We see a threat to the quality of the programme if the CCDST's manpower is not expanded to cover all 70 Band Five schools next year. But the CDI has not signalled such an intention so far, which is worrying,' said Convergence chairman Cho Kai-lok. Mr Cho said the CDI had already conducted an evaluation survey on the 10 schools, and that their findings and plans for next year should be disclosed as early as possible. A CDI spokesman on the project said the survey result was being assessed by the top level, and the results should be made known shortly. Education Convergence has submitted its survey together with a seven-point recommendation to the CDI. Besides beefing up and retaining the existing manpower of the CCDST, the suggestions include slowing down the expansion of the project to ensure a quality programme, and setting up teaching resource centres equipped with computer networks for teachers. Funding is also needed for creating special teaching material and enlisting more clerical support for each school. At present, schools are shouldering the cost. 'We hope to see a revision of the senior primary school syllabus, based on the experience gained from this project. Students usually start showing signs of lagging behind as early as between Primary Four and Six,' said Convergence member Ng Sui-lou. Mr Wong Tsz-ching, an English teacher of a Kowloon school involved in the project, said tailoring material to the standard of his students had reaped great benefits. 'Their self-image is obviously boosted as they achieve success. Likewise, teachers improve professionally because of the exchange of resources made possible through the CCDST team of experts,' Mr Wong said. The project also featured a greater variety of learning activities which Mr Wong said had generated an increased interest among his students. But the planning of material and activities also demanded a great deal more of the teachers' time outside the classroom, Mr Wong said. Education Convergence is planning on further action to push forward its proposals if CDI does not show its stand on the matter by next month.