LettersExams still have a place in English language learning in Hong Kong
- Readers discuss how to improve English language learning in Hong Kong and how Kyrgyzstan’s example could hold answers on how to best help the Rohingya
Such pessimistic views are not without evidence. Regardless of the vast array of policies and measures introduced and adopted in local schools, the use of English in Hong Kong remains restricted to the elite. If classroom teaching is merely seen as a process of knowledge transfer from teachers as the transmitters to students as receivers, there is little doubt the language level in general will decline.
As for the relevance of assessment in language learning, though it is correct to say that “test results don’t necessarily mean proficiency in daily use”, different roles of assessment could have different effects on learner performance. When tests and exams are used as an assessment of learning that aims to rank student performance against prescribed criteria after a certain learning period, learners might not benefit most from the results.
However, when they are used as an assessment for learning that tells teachers students’ strengths and weaknesses, they can modify the learning and teaching strategies accordingly to cater for better learning diversity.
Furthermore, when they are used as an assessment that focuses on the acquisition of new knowledge and skills, learners could become more autodidactic, taking responsibility for their own learning and exploring how to improve through reflection and self-evaluation.
Andy Seto Wood-hung, Shau Kei Wan
Look to Kyrgyzstan for answers on Rohingya
There are nearly a million Rohingya Muslims, half of them under the age of 18, living in camps in Bangladesh. The Rohingya are the world’s largest stateless population, according to the United Nations.
The Rohingya want to return home to Myanmar, but not without security guarantees. As the political stand-off drags on, one longer-term solution is to accept these refugees as citizens. Because national status is determined by the government, governments could pursue legislative and policy reforms to address the problem of statelessness.
One country – Kyrgyzstan – could be a model for tackling the problem. In 2019, the UN announced it had successfully reduced the number of stateless residents in the country from 13,000 to zero. The success of Kyrgyzstan is a breakthrough that should inspire confidence in other governments to take responsibility for the stateless people within their borders.
Jannet Ye, Kwun Tong