Lessons learned? School leadership and curriculum reform in Hong Kong

Siu Yin Annie TONG

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19 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the processes of implementing curriculum reform in schools. Specifically, it investigates how schools learn lessons from previous experiences of reform and apply them when challenged by new reforms. The context for this study is Hong Kong's New Secondary School Curriculum (NSSC), with particular reference to the subject of English Language. Research into the enactment of change over the last decade tells a story of weak leadership and management by policy makers, schools leaders and teachers. Key areas of weakness - poor management of change by school leaders, teachers' lack of understanding of the changes, and weak teacher collaboration - were pinpointed as reasons for the dismal results of curriculum change. This study investigates whether these areas of weakness were also in the implementation of the NSSC. Data collection comprised semi-structured interviews in nine secondary schools. The study reveals that lessons had been learnt from the previous experiences of implementing reform, and suggests that the capacity of schools to learn from a historical perspective should be taken into account in curriculum planning. Copyright © 2010 National Institute of Education, Singapore.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-242
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


Tong, S. Y. (2010). Lessons learned? School leadership and curriculum reform in Hong Kong. Asia Pacific Journal of Education. 30(2), 231-242.


  • School-based
  • Leadership
  • Reform
  • Curriculum
  • Management


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