The need of safety-net programme for a mass education system

King Por Edwin WONG, Sze Wan Emily NGAI, King Shuen LO

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Background: The Project Yi Jin (PYJ), an alternative pathway for secondary school leavers and adults to further their education, has been receiving full support from the government, the Federation for Continuing Education in Tertiary Institutions (FCE) in Hong Kong and the public. Graduates of PYJ have the equivalent academic status of their counterparts in the main stream education. It was first implemented in 2000/01 by the FCE and has been offered to more than 35,000 students by 2006/07. With the success of the programme as a safety-net for a mass education system, it should continue to function more vigorously as new reforms are being implemented in the Hong Kong education scene in the future. The Chief Executive in his 2004 Policy Address has set out the direction to develop a new secondary and university system, i.e., (3+3) for secondary + 4 (tertiary) [the old one is (3+2+2)+3], to be launched in 2010/11, that will effectively prepare the next generation to cope with the challenges of the 21st century and the demands of the rapidly developing knowledge-based society. The new system, together with substantial modified curricula including the newly developed applied learning courses (ApL), is supposed to be able to look after all secondary students. Aims and focus of discussion: This paper aims to argue the necessity of launching a new version of Project Yi Jin (nPYJ) concurrently together with the new 3+3+4 academic system. In light of the contemporary global educational systems as compared to that of Hong Kong, it is postulated that the launching of nPYJ as a continuation of the successful PYJ is both legitimate and indispensable with regard to the carefully observed current global fashion of lifelong learning and continuing education in which diversity, equity, and flexibility are highly valued. Method: A comprehensive comparative review was carried out on eleven selected oriental and occidental countries and regions, namely, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, South Korea, United Kingdom, United States, China, Taiwan, Singapore and Macao, focusing on the worldwide trend of constant high school drop-out rate as well as the mentioned countries’ respective senior secondary schooling articulation policy leading to higher education, in particular shedding light on the establishment of alternative pathways towards tertiary education alongside the conventional educational track. Conclusion: With the literature backdrop and empirical support, it is shown that high school drop-outs are inevitable no matter how well-defined an education system may be. Thus this is where the “safety-net” contingency plan is found essential. A new version of Project Yi Jin (nPYJ), to be offered in parallel with the Hong Kong’s new 3+3+4 secondary academic curricula, is indispensable to the new educational structure in the territory which fundamentally helps transform the conventionally somewhat segregated and elite educational system into a mass one. Regarding the curricular design, both PYJ and nPYJ will focus on generic skills and a wide range of electives will be offered as well to arouse students’ interest of study. Copyright © 2006 New Horizons in Education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-78
JournalNew Horizons in Education
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006


Wong, E. K. P., Ngai, E. S. W., & Lo, K. S. (2006). The need of safety-net programme for a mass education system. New Horizons in Education, 54, 60-78.


  • Project Yi Jin
  • Continuing education
  • Mass eEducation
  • 安全網計劃在集體教育中之必要性


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