This empirical comparative study is concerned with the issue of curriculum innovation in Twenty-first century Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and Guangzhou (GZ), the Chinese Mainland. This paper addresses three questions: (1) How do the SAR and GZ secondary five to seven students perceive their future social challenges? (2) In response to their perceived challenges, how do they evaluate the relevance of the current secondary school curriculum? (3) What kinds of curricular recommendations would they make for the schools? The fieldwork was conducted in GZ and the SAR between last December and March 1998. A pilot study was firstly conducted in GZ, and later in the SAR by the researcher herself. The convenient sampling method was administered. A sample of 3,300 current SAR and GZ secondary five to seven students across five school bandings was chosen. A number of 1,500 questionnaires were distributed in five GZ secondary schools and 1,800 in twenty-five SAR schools. Altogether, 1083 male and 1176 female respondents completed and returned their questionnaires. The return rates were 63% and 73% of GZ and the SAR respectively. One of the main findings is between group differences in the areas of perceived social challenges and adequacy of subject contents. Although both the SAR sample and the GZ sample highlighted the challenge of managing advanced technology, the latter expressed deeper concern than the former. For example, in contrast with 61.3% GZ sample, only 39.7% SAR sample believed that computer operation would be the most important skill for young twenty-first century people. On the other hand, 27.6% SAR sample and 13.1% GZ sample suggested that language skill continues to be an important skill. This is reflected in their evaluation of their school curriculum. Finding confirmed a significant difference between the two samples on the subject of curricular evaluation, Pearson's (F=0.02466, P<0.05). Whilst the GZ sample praised their language and mathematics training, the SAR sample valued more of their moral and social studies. No gender difference was found in curriculum evaluation according to the T-test, male (2.9547) and female (2.9489). However, class was a variable. Multiple Range Tests (Scheffe Test) indicated a significant difference between F.5 (2.2556) and F.7 (2.0568) samples. The latter had lesser satisfaction than the former as they have greater urgency and pressure to settle their career. As far as the current secondary school curriculum is concerned, 78.7% of the total respondents felt that it was inadequate in terms of preparing them for the future challenges. The SAR sample has greater dissatisfaction that the GZ sample. This might be due to the former's perception of the increasing challenges of socio-economic situation in today's SAR; and higher expectation of the school curriculum to prepare them for adult economic life. Research findings conclude that the two samples adopted a career-driven view on the school curriculum with variations. However, they defined and proposed a relevant 21st century school curriculum that is to equip young people with the commercial, technical, thinking and leadership skills. The knowledge of operating market economy was mostly felt desirable for handling adult economic life. Respondent's career-driven view also has led to suggest an integrated examination system taking student's accomplishments within and outside the classroom into account.
|Publication status||Published - 1998|