Q3 Study tour activities to the Mainland
MR CHAN CHUN-YING (in Cantonese):
Deputy President, from the main reply of the Secretary, I notice that EDB’s approach in dealing with the organization of study tour activities to the Mainland by schools is mainly to allocate some financial resources to schools which will then make their own arrangements. It seems that the activities are dispensable, because they are not proactively making use of the opportunities, through which students can personally go to the Mainland to understand the nation, to enhance their knowledge of and feelings of appreciation towards the nation.
I would like to ask the Bureau whether it will consider taking these study tour activities as a compulsory part of the curriculum of Liberal Studies or History, setting learning goals and conducting regular assessments on their effectiveness so that study tour activities can become a compulsory part of primary and secondary education?
SECRETARY FOR EDUCATION (in Cantonese):
Deputy President, over a period of time in the past, from 2013-2014 school year to 2018-2019 school year, the number of students participating in these Mainland exchange tours has doubled. In the 2018-2019 school year, approximately over 70 000 students participated in Mainland exchange tours. For one school year, there are on average about 50 000 primary or secondary students, meaning that there are a total of 100 000 primary and secondary students, and our goal is to provide about 100 000 quotas annually for students to join the Mainland exchange activities. At present, the number of students participating in Mainland exchange activities has already reached over 70 000 per year. They are not forced to, but are encouraged to join, and the schools are also willing to give them assistance.
In the present reform to the Liberal Studies curriculum for upper secondary schools, we have added a new element and that is, each upper secondary student will have a chance to go to the Mainland personally for a visit and an exchange as part of the Liberal Studies curriculum. Of course, this has to tie in with the curricular development. We usually arrange exchange tours relating to different subjects on a voluntary basis. We have organized many Mainland exchange tours in relation to history and geography and students are encouraged to join them. However, exchange tours can temporarily not be arranged for other subjects. We will, first of all, study the effectiveness of incorporating exchange tours into the Liberal Studies curriculum. In this regard, we need to solve some practical problems. For instance, some parents may be worried when learning that their children have to leave home for a tour to the Mainland, and they may not be willing to let their children join the exchange tours.
When we make it compulsory to join the exchange tours, we need to study how it goes, and have to be extra cautious when dealing with primary schools. Anyway, since we have taken this step on the Liberal Studies curriculum, we will study the effectiveness before making further decisions.