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Extract from "Unprecedented March summer holiday for primary and secondary schools and kindergartens" (Sing Tao Daily)

23/02/2022
  • To allow all sectors of the community to focus on the fight against the epidemic, the government advances the school summer holiday to early March.

     

    (Sing Tao Daily) As the fifth wave of the epidemic remains unchecked, the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, announced yesterday that all primary and secondary schools and kindergartens in Hong Kong would, for the first time ever, advance the start of their summer holidays in March and April, so that teachers and students do not have to go back to school and concentrate on the fight against the epidemic. Primary and international schools are expected to resume classes after the Easter holidays, while the authorities are striving for the Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) examination to start at the end of April as scheduled, and all secondary schools in Hong Kong will resume classes after the core subjects have been completed, with the start date of the current school year postponed to mid-August. Some HKDSE candidates are worried that they will not be able to return to school to sit for the examination, while teachers are preparing to help students prepare for the examination online.

     


    Mrs Lam yesterday announced a special arrangement to bring forward the July-August summer holiday to March-April for kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, and international schools. During this period, teachers and students will not be required to return to school and there will be no on-line classes, and schools will vacate their premises for testing, isolation and vaccination by the Government. Depending on the development of the epidemic, primary and international schools may resume classes after the Easter holidays. For secondary schools, the Administration is striving for the Diploma of Secondary Education Examination to start on 22 April as scheduled, and classes will resume after the core subjects have been completed. The last school day of the current school year will therefore be postponed to 12 August.
    Diploma exams to start at the end of April

     


    The Education Bureau met with representatives of the school sector yesterday evening to brief them on the measures. The chairman of the Subsidised Secondary Schools Council, Mr Lau Chun-hung, said after the meeting that the arrangement of advancing the summer holiday was appropriate in the face of the epidemic, but the administrative work of schools needed to be co-ordinated. As for the loan of school premises for testing or inoculation, he considered that the school sector had the social responsibility to co-operate, but the Administration had to provide support such as manpower deployment, and hoped that there would be clear guidelines. The Chairman of the Association of Heads of Secondary Schools, Mr Anthony Lien, hoped that the authorities would allow flexibility for schools to decide whether they could "give a few more days of grace in early March, so as to deal with the holiday arrangements and the start of the holidays for the Secondary One intake, and bring forward the end of the school year by about one week in August, so as to allow sufficient time for schools to get ready for the next school year".

     


    The new arrangement may disrupt the final preparation for the HKDSE Examination. Chu Hoi Ching, a candidate of the CNEC Lau Wing Sang Secondary School, admitted that she could not go back to school to sit for the examination and found it difficult to get used to the atmosphere. SIU NGO TING, a candidate from the same school, was also worried about not being able to consult his teacher in person. The school's head of English, Miss Tam Wing-han, said the arrangement would inevitably have an impact, but she believed that teachers would still help their students online, "Students will give me their essays, and I will give them comments on the Internet. Although teachers do not have to go to work, they would still like to help students when they have time. She also pointed out that Secondary 5 students sitting for the HKDSE examination next year would need time to adapt after the resumption of classes, and hoped that the HKEAA would announce any changes to the school-based assessment arrangements as soon as possible.

     


    As for the Primary 5 second semester examination, Mr Chu Kwok-keung, a member of the Education Functional Constituency who is also the head of a primary school, expects that the examination will be postponed to May. However, students may not be able to participate in the adaptation programme when they move up to secondary school, so he hopes that the authorities will announce the arrangements for the pre-school subject tests for Secondary 1 entrants as soon as possible. He was also worried that the new arrangements would disrupt the practice and job search of prospective teachers, and urged the authorities to introduce measures to alleviate the difficulties of kindergartens, which were also experiencing difficulties in their operation.