Early learning experiences of young Chinese learners in Hong Kong: The role of traditional values and changing educational policy

Nirmala RAO, Sui Ngan Sharon NG, Jin SUN

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In recent years, the Government of the Hong Kong SAR has allocated considerably more attention and resources to pre-primary education. This chapter considers how these changes at the policy and pedagogy levels are shaping the learning experiences of young children in Hong Kong. It will focus on the impact of the following four broad policy changes initiated in the last decade: the implementation of the Guide to the Pre-primary curriculum; the adoption of the biliterate and trilingual language policy; the enactment of a new quality assurance process; and the introduction of the Pre-primary Education Voucher Scheme (PEVS). It was assumed that the implementation of these policies would enhance the preschool and home learning experiences of young children. However, after one decade of implementation of these measures, studies have shown that: (1) preschool teachers still encounter difficulties in implementing child-centred teaching approaches and are likely to continue to adopt teacher-directed instruction or product-oriented pedagogy; (2) there are problems associated with the implementation of the trilingual language policy; (3) there are still wide variations in preschool quality despite the new quality assurance processes; and (4) the PEVS has resulted in some middle-families using the extra disposable income to enrol their children in additional academic classes rather than more play-based extra-curricular activities. Against the background of these research findings, this chapter argues that the changing role of the State, teacher characteristics and traditional Chinese beliefs should be adequately considered for an understanding of the early learning experiences of young Chinese learners in Hong Kong. Preschool education in Hong Kong has not necessarily become more child-centred as teachers have difficulties implementing developmentally appropriate teaching. On the other hand, the government has allocated more resources in enhancing the quality of early childhood education through supporting professional development of teachers. In terms of home-based learning, the influence of traditional Chinese beliefs about academic achievement is predominant and parents continue to prioritize academic learning. Thus Chinese parental beliefs and practices moderate the efforts of the state to promote holistic early development and learning. Copyright © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Singapore.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe psychology of Asian learners: A festschrift in honor of David Watkins
EditorsRonnel B. KING, Allan B. I. BERNARDO
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Pages635-649
ISBN (Electronic)9789812875761
ISBN (Print)9789812875754
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Fingerprint

educational policy
Hong Kong
primary education
learning
teacher
Values
experience
language policy
quality assurance
disposable income
preschool education
Teaching
resources
academic achievement
Singapore
parents
childhood
instruction
curriculum
science

Citation

Rao, N., Ng, S. S. N., & Sun, J. (2016). Early learning experiences of young Chinese learners in Hong Kong: The role of traditional values and changing educational policy. In R. B. King, & A. B. I. Bernardo (Eds.), The psychology of Asian learners: A festschrift in honor of David Watkins (pp. 635-649). Singapore: Springer Singapore.

Keywords

  • Chinese values
  • Early years
  • Educational policy
  • Hong Kong