Small class teaching in Hong Kong: Seizing the opportunities

Kwok Chan LAI, Kam Wing Paul CHAN, Chi Kin John LEE

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

4 Citations (Scopus)


Educators generally regard reduction of class sizes or Small Class Teaching (SCT) as a key factor in enhancing the quality of education. Nevertheless, policymakers are more often concerned with the fi nancial aff ordability and cost-eff ectiveness of reducing class sizes. In this regard, class size reduction has often been a controversial issue in many countries (Blatchford and Lai, 2010). This controversy has been very noticeable in Hong Kong in the past decade in the context of a sharp decline in school enrolment and school closure. After years of hot debate, the government has decided to implement SCT in public sector primary schools with a standard class size of 25 pupils, starting from primary 1 in the 2009-2010 school year. Various types of teachers’ professional development courses and school-based support projects, as well as learning circles within and across schools, have been organized to enhance the effectiveness of teaching and learning in small class environments. In addition, there have been an increasing number of professional exchanges with other cities in the greater China region which are implementing SCT. These developments have gradually led to a positive change in primary education, as well as professional growth of principals and teachers. In this chapter, we first review the contextual factors affecting the development of class size policies in Hong Kong, followed by an introduction of two case studies of schools which have made use of SCT as a facilitating condition to bring about school revival and improvement. The opportunities and challenges of implementing SCT are then discussed. Copyright © 2014 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAsia’s high performing education systems: The case of Hong Kong
EditorsColin MARSH, John Chi-Kin LEE
Place of PublicationNew York
ISBN (Electronic)9780203499634, 9781135048754
ISBN (Print)9780415834872
Publication statusPublished - 2014


Lai. K.-C., Chan, K.-W., & Lee, J. C.-K. (2014). Small class teaching in Hong Kong: Seizing the opportunities. In C. Marsh, & J. C.-K. Lee (Eds.), Asia’s high performing education systems: The case of Hong Kong (pp. 132-148). New York: Routledge.


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