THE Education Department is considering taking part in an international practical research project on 'added value' in education. This was announced by Deputy Director of Education Elaine Chung Lai-kwok after a recent visit to the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Practical School in Yuen Long. The project will compare the success strategy of schools in Britain, Singapore and Hong Kong. 'The aim is to measure in a more tangible way the development of the students, whatever the level of intake, and match it with the requirements of a business-oriented society,' Miss Chung said. 'The project will highlight good educational practices and identify the mechanisms of success in schools with students from disadvantaged backgrounds who achieve above average outcome or are particularly effective 'against the odds'.' The school which Miss Chung visited is run by the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals with a subvention of $4.7 million as recurrent cost for the 1994-95 school year and $40.2 million as capital cost from the Government. The school was opened in September last year and now has 139 students. About 50 per cent of the curriculum offered comprises grammar school subjects, including English, Chinese and Mathematics, and the remaining are practical skills such as hair-styling, accommodation and catering, fashion and clothing and commercial studies. Other subjects such as home catering, landscaping, raising of tropical fish and tourism are also being considered. 'There are many success stories in Hong Kong of entrepreneurs with practical skills,' Miss Chung said. 'Education is about nurturing young people to contribute positively to society in a variety of roles. Practical schools are, therefore, filling a niche in the education scene.' Miss Chung was impressed with the dedication of the principal, Miss S. Y. Ng, and of the teachers in accepting this new educational challenge. She urged parents to seriously consider this new alternative to traditional schooling, especially for children who do not have an aptitude for grammar school education.