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The Thorny Path of Education (23 Aug 2006)


In Shanghai's effort to reform education, parents prove to be the biggest problem.In Hong Kong, the pressure comes from the lack of resources, low birth rate, and in turn under enrolment.The Shanghai Jinan Education College Auxiliary School is running under a reformed 9-year through-train school system. Zhang Renli is the first Principal under the new system. He proposes a systematic theory of school management and makes brave attempts to reform the teaching curriculums.He said "course designs should fit the child's development stages, and initiated the theory of zone of proximal development in teaching." Maths is no longer taught in P.1. Listening and comprehension are more preferable than traditional rote learning in language teaching.Principal Zhang devoted himself to find ways to reform education. He hopes students can learn easily with the reformed curriculum and teaching methods. The Principal holds onto his belief firmly, albeit enormous resistance from the parents and teachers, and earns the nicknames of "schoolbag weight reduction Principal" and "innovative Principal" by outside people.36-year-old Fresh Fish Traders' School in Tai Kok Tsui ranked the lowest 3 in the district. Students' performance was far below average. English was particularly weak. Principal Leung made his inauguration a few years ago and promised to reverse the situation in 3 years, or else he would resign.While the school was gradually improving, the school only enrolled 17 new Primary 1 students in 2004. As a result, the Education and Manpower Bureau issued them a "school culling" notice.To avoid being forcibly closed down, Fresh Fish Traders' School appealed with another 6 schools with similar fate. They applied for special inspection by the Bureau to evaluate the teaching standards of their schools.After fighting for 7 hard months, they finally passed the evaluation and in the school year of 2005-06, they can resume their P.1 enrolment.Though they succeeded in protecting the school, the authority can still force them to cut P.1 class if they can't enroll more than 23 students in the future. No special school inspection will be allowed next time. The new school year is about to begin. Under the leadership of Principal Leung, the teachers and students meet the future challenge with joy and worry.

Under the Same Sky
Publish Date: 
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
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