I feel moved to write yet another article to the HK print media again! Not that it does anything more than help me get some things off my chest! It will of course be minus the pics of a very typical HK Primary classroom. Note the high tech device in the lower pic. It is called a chalkboard for those who have not seen these for a while
It is probably quite ironic that a lot of the debate about the language of instruction in government-funded Hong Kong schools and the sorry state of the system, which is so heavily examination focused it elevates tutors to the status of rock stars, takes place in English media seldom read by HK legislators. Indeed, getting a message to anyone capable of bringing about the necessary reform seems so very difficult, it often amazes me that parents don’t take up marching in the streets. I guess part of the answer lies in the fact that the rich, the powerful and the influential in Hong Kong have the option of paying private tutors with more international perspectives or sending their children to the international school sector, one that is understandably booming in this city due to the fact that local passport holders are welcomed to them.
Personally, I have also tried to assist the Education Bureau of Hong Kong for the last 3 years on an almost charitable basis. I have run courses for teachers in such things as global collaboration with classrooms using remote conferencing tools, Podcasting for improving spoken English, Using Web2.0 tools for effective learning. For my time and trouble the education bureau pays me a honorarium which is considerably less than I could make if I did a day’s emergency teaching for a Hong Kong school. It worked for a while but I have to try to support my family now that a new member is on the way. Maybe I can go back to helping after I retire. Given the current rate of progress in Hong Kong education, nothing much is likely to change in the next 20 years or so. In the meantime I will return to the blossoming international school sector confident that the Hong Kong government will continue to encourage more of its population to see this as the only option to get an education that prepares them for a collaborative, communicative, globally connected world of the future that will reward creativity and ingenuity over compliance and obedience. The great pity to me is that such a choice is not available to everyone in Hong Kong.