Visits to the laboratory will be as common as trips to the library for students at Hong Kong's first secondary school specialising in biotechnology and environmental science. Backed up by the Hong Kong Biotechnology Association and equipped with several laboratories, the Po Leung Kuk Laws Foundation College will give students hands-on biotechnology experience from an early age. For example, Form One students at the new Direct Subsidy Scheme school in Tseung Kwan O will learn about cell structure and functions by observing cells under microscopes. They will conduct experiments in dyeing the cells and testing them with different drugs to observe their reactions and understand how medicine helps cure diseases. Principal Daniel Chan Wing-kwong said the mainstream education system had failed to cultivate an interest in science because of a lack of facilities and curriculum. 'In mainstream schools, students mainly learn science from textbooks until they are promoted to Form Four,' Mr Chan said. 'They seldom have a chance to conduct projects and research on their own until they go to university. It is a waste of the curiosity and imagination of young students, the best ingredients in science learning.' Mr Chan said Hong Kong was late to engage students in laboratory experiments, compared with Taiwan, Singapore, the US and Europe. In Singapore, students started carrying out experiments in primary school with the sponsorship of biotechnology agencies, which viewed education as paving the way for technological advancement. 'Everyone knows that the 21st century is a century of biotechnology,' Mr Chan said. 'There is a need to promote science learning to primary students in the future, and that implies more facilities, new curriculums and more money. We hope the higher education sector, business and government will join hands to make it happen.'