Hong Kong primary school principal's expectation of postgraduate diploma in education (primary) program

Huen YU, Wing Ming Francis CHEUNG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Since the publication of the Education Commission Report No. 5 in 1992, the Hong Kong community like other international communities, put increasing emphasis on creating a quality professional teacher work force in schools. This is culminated at the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in July 1997 when the Chief Executive, Mr. Tung Che Hwa, announced in his Inauguration Speech that all new primary and secondary teachers should be degree holders with formal professional training. Among the many needs and initiatives to upgrade the teaching force, the situation in primary school sector draws great attentions of the education community. At present, over 80% of the primary school teachers are non-graduates but professionally trained. At the same time, the primary school sector also attracts quite a number of the fresh university graduates without professional training to take up teaching posts. This phenomenon is not encouraging to the healthy development of a strong graduate teaching force in the primary school. In order to improve the situation, two areas of work need to be carried out. First the Hong Kong community needs to create opportunities for non-graduate teachers to upgrade themselves to become graduates. Second, postgraduate training program should be developed urgently for untrained graduate teachers in the primary school. Responding to the above, this paper examine the issues related to the development of a Postgraduate Diploma in Education program (PGDE) for in-service primary school teachers with special reference to the expectation of the school principals who are the key actors in the primary school sector. Data of the present study are drawn from a large market study for PGDE program development. Two types of data are available for analysis, namely the quantitative data from survey to a random sample of 392 primary schools (return rate was 80.6%), and qualitative data from interviews with 21 primary school principals. The expectations of the principal were analysed in terms of the program design rationales, curriculum structure, admission requirements, and etc. Finding suggested that there are on an average 2 untrained graduate teachers in each of the schools in the study. Principals in the study indicated that there is an urgent need to create opportunities for untrained graduate teachers to upgrade their professional qualifications. Most of the principals preferred part-time mode to full time mode of PGDE program. Analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data suggested further that the best duration for the program is two-year part-time and the urgently needed subjects are Chinese, English, Mathematics, and Music. Regarding the admission requirement, the principals generally indicated that canadides should not be admitted only based on their prior academic subject training, candidates with a degree not relevant to the primary school curriculum should also be considered. Move to the discussion of curriculum component of the program, survey subjects generally have a convergent view that the weighting of subject content knowledge and teaching methodology plus professional studies should be balanced. More discussions will be presented in the full paper regarding aims and objectives of the program, course curriculum, teaching practice and etc. as expected by the principals. It is hoped that the findings of the present study will provide insights for teacher education course developers when developing programs to cater for the professional training needs of untrained graduate teachers. With appropriate training, the present cohort of untrained graduate teachers may probably perform more effectively in upbringing the quality of the education service they provided.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1997


Yu, H., & Cheung, W. M. F. (1997, November). Hong Kong primary school principal's expectation of postgraduate diploma in education (primary) program. Paper presented at the Hong Kong Educational Research Association (HKERA) 14th Annual Conference: Compulsory Education and Beyond, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China.


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