What are Hong Kong’s STEM education challenges?

In light of society’s growing need for STEM talents, the Hong Kong Education Bureau incorporated STEM into their 8 learning areas (KLAs) in the primary and secondary school curriculum.

STEM is taught in primary schools subject categories of Maths and General Studies. At the same time, In secondary schools, it is further broken down into Science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology) and Tech (Design and Technology, Information Technology, etc.). In addition to incorporating KLAs, the EDB also provides one-time grants to schools to improve and widen their STEM resources. Future plans for larger additional grants to establish “IT Innovation Labs” in secondary schools to promote technological learning.

Hong Kong’s Approach to STEM Learning

STEM is focused on applying knowledge learned in the classroom to real-life scenarios. As envisioned by the Hong Kong Education Board, an essential aspect of STEM education is learning by doing. This trial and error approach helps students better understand concepts while encouraging them to learn from their failures.

A primary principle behind Hong Kong’s STEM curriculum is the Engineering Design Process (EDP). An approach designed to motivate students to solve problems creatively. This 7-step process drives students to ask questions, perform research on the topic, imagine, plan, create and test their solution, and finally iterate to improve it yet further.

Emphasis on Hands-on Learning Activities

‍STEM learning activities take many shapes and forms. Their objective is always to help students acquire essential life skills and encourage interest in STEM subjects.

Optimal STEM activities don’t require textbooks or screens and involve things children can do with their hands; For example, building models and performing experiments, and more. Students can directly interact with what they’re learning in the classroom through hands-on activities!

STEM Curriculum Objectives

It’s never too early for kids to participate in STEM activities, but these must be age-appropriate and level-adjusted. In kindergarten, the focus is to foster curiosity about the world around them and demonstrate to children that STEM is something they can do!. In elementary school, the goal is to encourage students to think scientifically and apply what they learn to their lives outside of school. Secondary school places emphasis on abstract concepts and higher-level STEM subject studies.

Difficulties & Problems

The Hong Kong stem education program Does face its challenges. Educators complain that there was insufficient time to teach stem subjects. Currently, Educators must shoehorn stem activities into the lesson times allocated to other subjects. STEM extracurricular activities do not fully address this problem since they only attract students interested in the topic.
Many teachers don’t feel confident about teaching STEM since it is outside their expertise. According to a recent study, up to 83% of teachers believe there is a lack of STEM training and support. Similarly, unclear teaching guidelines make it difficult for teachers to teach STEM in school. Since the EDB does not have a standard STEM curriculum, many schools are confused about their teaching approach.

For the complete article read here: STEM Around the World: Hong Kong

Dmitry Litvinov
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