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Extract from "Secondary schools rumoured to have suspended classes, school sector's reaction polarised" (Sing Tao Daily)

20/01/2022
  • (Sing Tao Daily) The fifth wave of the new coronavirus epidemic spreads, a number of secondary schools have been infected with the new coronavirus, the secondary school sector rumours that the Education Bureau to consult the views of individual principals, or next Monday, face-to-face classes may be completely suspended. We enquired with school principals' organisations yesterday and found that the response from the sector was polarised, with some principals and teachers worrying that an across-the-board suspension of classes would fail to take into account the preparation needs of the current year's Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) examination candidates, while some principals thought that the authorities should make a decisive decision. EDB responded that secondary schools will continue with the existing face-to-face classroom arrangement at this stage and will announce new arrangements as soon as possible.

     


    With the new wave of the Xinguan epidemic affecting a number of secondary schools, it is widely rumoured in the school sector that the authorities are consulting individual principals and do not rule out the possibility of suspending classes on Monday. The Education Bureau replied to our enquiry, saying that the existing face-to-face classroom arrangement for secondary schools will continue at this stage, and the authorities will continue to monitor the development of the epidemic. Secondary school principals in different districts have different reactions to whether classes should be suspended. The Chairman of the Association of Heads of Secondary Schools, Mr Anthony Lien Chun-pong, said that if a blanket suspension of classes was announced at this time, it might have an impact on Secondary Six students as they were preparing for their graduation exams and the Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) Examination. The Lunar New Year is approaching and schools will normally start their holidays around next Friday.

     

    The CNEC Lau Wing Sang Secondary School in Chai Wan will hold a mock examination for Form 6 students next week. Assistant Principal Miss Tam Wing Han expects that the announcement of a school closure will definitely affect the examination arrangements, depriving students of the opportunity to prepare for the examination in real life, and even if the examination is switched to an online one, it will still be difficult for students to familiarise themselves with the atmosphere at the examination venue. She also mentioned that teachers and students were psychologically prepared for the cancellation of the oral examination for the English Language subject of the Diploma of Secondary Education Examination to be held at the end of March, but were caught in a dilemma: "Schools have already prepared to hold mock oral examinations for students, but there is a chance that the oral examination may be cancelled, so is it necessary to hold the oral examination? She hoped that the authorities would announce the teaching and examination arrangements under the epidemic as soon as possible.

     

    Separately, the Secretary for Education, Mr Yeung Yun-hung, said in his reply to a written question at the Legislative Council yesterday that as at the beginning of this month, more than 180 secondary schools in Hong Kong had applied for resumption of whole-day face-to-face teaching in all schools, representing an increase of 36 per cent over the figure of December last year, and more than 200 secondary schools had applied for resumption of whole-day face-to-face teaching in some grades, making a total of nearly 400 schools, which is also an increase of about 10 per cent.