As part of the Review of Academic System in Hong Kong, the Education Commission has recently made initial recommendations on the aims of education for Hong Kong and conducted an extensive community consultation on the recommended aims. During the consultation process, it was clear that many community groups are concerned about not only the aims of education, but also a variety of related issues regarding different aspects of children’s schooling. This can be demonstrated in the findings of a survey of kindergarten teachers enrolled in in-service courses offered by the School of Early Childhood Education at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. The survey was conducted by a group of Staff within the School who wish to stimulate the community’s interest in and concern for issues related to early childhood education in Hong Kong. Part of the survey aimed to collect kindergarten teachers’ expectations of what early childhood education should provide for the children in Hong Kong. The findings are consistent with the views expressed by many different community groups. Kindergarten education is expected to promote balanced development of the whole child in all domains, to provide a facilitative environment for children to learn through play, and to enhance children’s social learning and functioning as a member of a group. Interestingly, these expectations shared by professional and parent groups alike are contrary to what is often observed in practice. Children, beginning from four-year-olds, are made to sit through dreary lessons that focus on rote learning of academic skills, rather than being allowed to experience stimulating and interesting learning activities that enhance intellectual, physical, social, moral as well as aesthetic development. The present paper aims to analyze the reasons for the contradictions between the expressed desires of teachers and parents and what is in fact being practised. Finally the challenges facing early childhood education in Hong Kong will be identified and discussed. Copyright © 2000 The Save the Children Fund (Hong Kong).
|Publication status||Published - 2000|