Information Technology (IT) in Education
This paper sets out the latest position of the implementation of information technology (IT) in secondary and primary education, and the way forward.
2. The Education and Manpower Bureau (EMB) submitted an information paper to the then LegCo Panel on Education in June this year, setting out the implementation of IT in education in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors, and the direction of future development. The information paper is attached at Annex I for ease of reference.
Government's present focus in respect of IT in education
3. As mentioned in the information paper submitted in June, IT in education in the school sector includes the teaching of computer subjects, application of IT as teaching tools, using IT to assist school management and administration. In the tertiary sector, IT in education includes the promotion of computer/IT courses, increase in the provision of IT/computer facilities for students, and improvement in telecommunications to facilitate academic development and research. We have set out what the Government has done in these aspects. The Government agrees that students should be exposed to IT in education start from a small age. At present, we will focus on how to promote IT in education in primary and secondary schools, in particular, to assist primary and secondary school teachers using IT as teaching tools, so as to raise students?interest and effectiveness in learning.
Progress of the implementation of IT in education
4. The progress of measures introduced in IT in education at tertiary level is at Annex II.
5. As regards primary and secondary schools, the progress of implementation of the measures announced last year is as follows -
- Install 15 multi-media computers in every public sector primary school
The Education Department (ED) has collected schools?requests regarding mode of installation. It will invite tender for the hardware and software required shortly, and is preparing for the conversion works required in those schools which opted to have a computer assisted learning room (about 70%), including the provision of furniture and equipment, and the installation of power points. Schools can also decide to install computers in classrooms or special rooms, or to have notebook computers, according to their individual needs. ED expects to start the installation of computers in early 1998.
- Design Computer Awareness (CA) Programme and Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) Programme
ED has formed a committee on IT in the school curriculum to plan for the implementation of CA and CAL programmes. The modular computer awareness courses for primary schools pupils developed by the committee is now being taught in eight primary schools on a pilot basis. On the other hand, the committee has also been testing educational software available on the market, to ensure that they are compatible with the operating system.
- Provide training for 15 200 primary school teachers
We shall provide three levels of training for at least 20 teachers in each school, including basic training, computer assisted teaching training and intensive training. ED plans to require computer vendors to provide basic computer operation training courses for teachers and is preparing the necessary tendering conditions. We will discuss with the tertiary institutions and other non-profit-making organisations the possibility of co-organising subject-specific and more in-depth IT training course for teachers. We plan to tie in these programmes with the schedule of computer installation, with a view to completing training for teachers within six months after the installation of computers in their schools.
- Establish Information Technology Learning Centre (ITLC) in each of the 27 prevocational and 19 secondary technical schools
ED is reviewing the proposals on conversion work submitted by the schools. It expects to forward the proposals to the Architectural Services Department/Housing Department by the end of October. Tendering of hardware and software is expected to complete early next year. ITLCs would be set up in prevocational and secondary technical schools starting from the 1998/99 school year.
Strategy for IT in education
6. In the 1997 Policy Address, the Chief Executive announced that we will formulate a long-term strategy for IT in school education, and provided a framework for this strategy :
- to promote the use of IT to enhance teaching and learning;
- to equip teachers with the necessary IT skills, and to apply computer-assisted teaching and learning across the curriculum;
- to place students in an environment where they can use this technology as part of their daily activities and grow up to use it creatively;
- to have teaching in at least 25% of the curriculum supported through IT within five years; and
- to see IT being applied comprehensively in school life within ten years; to have all teachers and Secondary 5 graduates being able to work competently with IT tools.
7. EMB is formulating the strategy in collaboration with ED. We will invite all relevant parties, professionals and experienced front-line educators, including teachers, school heads and professors, to provide input, with a view to formulating a visionary long-term strategy which meets the needs of Hong Kong in all aspects, so that IT in education in Hong Kong will be on par with their counterparts in the most advanced countries. We will issue a consultation document before the end of the year to seek views from relevant parties, including the PLC Panel on Education. The document on the long-term strategy is expected to be finalised early next year.
Measures to be introduced next year
8. Apart from formulating a long-term strategy for IT in education, the Policy Address also mentioned a series of measures to be introduced next year, to strengthen IT in education in primary and secondary schools. ED is studying the most appropriate mode of implementation. Our preliminary plans are as follows -
- increase the number of computers in each primary school from 15 to an average of 40 and in each secondary school from 20 to an average of 82 : computers in primary schools are primarily used for CA and CAL programmes, we will also encourage schools to flexibly use these computers in teaching more subjects. ED plans to start the installation of additional computers in primary schools starting from the next school year. Apart from those schools which requested for a computer-assisted learning room as mentioned in paragraph 5(a), a computer-assisted learning room will be provided in some of the new primary schools completed in 1999, and all those completed in 2000 or beyond. In secondary schools, besides upgrading the facilities in computer room with the additional facilities for teaching computer subjects, schools will also have adequate facilities to assist the teaching of other subjects through computers. We will also provide a computer-assisted learning room in some of the new secondary schools completed in 1999, and all those completed in 2000 or beyond.
- procure and develop new software to support teaching, especially for languages : we will provide recurrent grant to schools for procuring of computer-assisted learning resource materials. ED will also conduct research on and develop educational software. We will pay special attention to curriculum design and software compatibility when formulating the long-term strategy for IT in education.
Teacher training and resource centre
- provide training in IT to over 30 000 teachers, and set up an IT Education Resource Centre and regional support teams to provide professional and technical support to schools : as regards the planning for teacher training, we will take account of the experience in implementing the approach mentioned in paragraph 5(c), and carefully consider the comments received during the consultation period. The proposed IT Education Resource Centre will provide professional support services to schools, such as hotline enquiry services and library services. We will also set up regional support teams to provide technical assistance to schools.
- introduce pilot schemes in 20 schools to establish best practices for IT applications in teaching and learning : we will consider inviting applications for participation in the pilot schemes and will select ten secondary and ten primary schools to participate in the schemes. Each participating school will be provided with more computer facilities to pilot on computer-assisted teaching. The pilot results and relevant information would be useful in the course of our formulating the direction for future development.
Internet and education-specific intranet
- connect all schools to the Internet : at present, all secondary school can access to the Internet, our next step will be to achieve the same target in primary schools.
- make preparations for an education-specific intranet for multi-dimensional communication and sharing of information within the school sector : We plan to establish a pilot education-specific intranet in the 20 demonstration schools. The long-term goal is to extend this education-specific intranet to all schools and encourage wide usage by teachers and students, to enhance teaching and learning effectiveness.
9. The implementation details as outlined in paragraph 8 might be revised as appropriate, taking account of comments received during the consultation on the long-term strategy for IT in education.
Education and Manpower Bureau
Information Technology Education in Tertiary Education
At the tertiary level, the Government, through the University Grants Committee (UGC), is also investing heavily in upgrading the physical and human infrastructure in the provision of IT education. Basic computer courses are offered to tertiary students on an elective basis. In addition, about 6% of the students of UGC-funded institutions are undertaking computer/IT academic programmes.
2. Apart from the provision of personal computers on campus, the UGC has already invested some $92 million in the improvement of the Hong Kong Academic and Research Network (HARNET) and upgrading the HK/US telecommunication link in UGC-funded institutions and Internet Infrastructure. A further $30 million has been provided as targeted technological support for the institutions?own libraries, information and communication networks. The UGC is also actively exploring how the telecommunications infrastructure in UGC-funded institutions can be further upgraded.
3. As regards research, the Research Grants Council (RGC) also provided additional funding for five UGC-funded institutions to acquire additional personal computers to researches in certain disciplines. In 1994 and 1995, the RGC provided $4 million to the UGC-funded institutions to install and upgrade an inter-institutional broadband communication's network. In 1996, the RGC provided another $2 million to help the institutions establish a centre for distributed computing and multimedia applications.
4. The institutions have also made wider use of the IT/computers in the educational processes as an aid to increase the productivity of teaching and learning, widen the variety of teaching methods (e.g. electronic library), and facilitate student-initiated learning.
Last Updated on 23 October 1997