Council Meetings (Oral Question): Study Tour Activities to the Mainland (2021.01.27)

MR CHAN KIN-POR (in Cantonese): Deputy President, it is certainly nice that Mainland exchange activities can enhance students’ understanding of the latest developments in the nation. Nevertheless, their effectiveness will really depend on the quality of these activities. In the main reply, it is mentioned that EDB has developed the Points to Note for Schools in relation to exchange activities. I think the Points to Note for Schools have already laid down very clear and detailed requirements for schools, but how does EDB monitor to make sure that the requirements are complied with by schools? Besides, if individual schools do not comply with the Points to Note for Schools and act differently, how will the Bureau punish them?

SECRETARY FOR EDUCATION (in Cantonese): Deputy President, in fact, I mentioned earlier in the main reply that there are generally two modes for schools to organize Mainland exchange activities. For the first mode, the activities are commissioned by us. That means EDB will find contractors to organize the activities and we will be involved in the design of itineraries and the details of schedules. Of course, we will conduct reviews on these activities. We may have some accompanying colleagues in certain exchange tours who can directly observe how these exchange tours are organized. Besides, we will also prepare questionnaires to get feedback from students, teachers and parents in order to understand how well these activities are organized.

Mr CHAN may be more concerned about another mode of organization, under which exchange tours are organized by the schools themselves. The schools will plan the itineraries themselves and apply for some subsidies from the Government. Under this arrangement, a school has to submit a rather detailed plan to EDB beforehand so that we have an idea of the general itinerary. After the tour, we will require the school to submit a report about the learning situation during the whole tour, which the school will have to find out. One of our requirements is to achieve learning outcomes, and thus after returning to Hong Kong, students may have to prepare brief notes or reports through them we can see what they have learned in the tour. This is also part of our monitoring work.

Of course, as regards the arrangement of itineraries or the process of student learning, it is difficult for us to set a certain standard on each tour, because the things that happen or the situations that they face may vary in different tours. But overall speaking, we will check students’ performance in respect of their learning outcomes to determine whether the arrangements of a study tour are up to scratch.

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