The pursuit of new school functions: Re-engineering schools for the 21st century

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


In facing challenges form the rapidly changing educational environment, numerous educational changes and school reforms have been conducted to pursue educational effectiveness and educational quality in different parts of the world. Unfortunately, most of school development, and inevitably have experienced serious frustration if not failure. This speech aims to elaborate the new school functions and meanings emerging in the new century and draw implications for ongoing and future school reforms in both Hong Kong and international contexts. There are five basic school functions including technical/economic function, human/social, political, cultural, and educational functions at the individual, institutional, community, society, and international levels. Based on this, a set of new meanings, values and goals for school development and practice can be established and pursued as the criteria of school effectiveness and quality. Continuous and systematic learning and development of students, staff, and schools is a necessary condition for the dynamic development of local, regional, and international communities. Most of the past educational reforms with focus on fragmentary improvement and remedial treatment are not sufficient to bring holistic school development and long term effectiveness. Integrating my recent research and thinking on school effectiveness and school-based management with the insights from new school functions, I propose a new mechanism for re-engineering schools, facilitating continuous development of students and staff, increasing support of parents and community, improving technology in education and management, and pursuing new functions and meanings more effectively. Hopefully, all those concerned particularly our students and teachers can benefit from the coming educational reforms. Copyright © 1996 The Hong Kong Institute of Education.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1996


Cheng, Y. C. (1996, November). The pursuit of new school functions: Re-engineering schools for the 21st century. Paper presented at the Hong Kong Educational Research Association (HKERA) 13th Annual Conference: Restructuring Schools in Changing Societies, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.


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