Background: The Education Commission (EC) of Hong Kong, the advisory body set up by the government on the overall development of education in Hong Kong, began developing a policy of education reform in 1998 and published its blueprint in 2000. In 2006, the EC published its fourth official report on the progress of the reform -- Progress Report on the Education Reform (4).
Discussion Focus:The policy document developed in 2000 contains a paragraph that summarises the 14,000 public submissions received by the EC at that time. The EC has adopted this summary as its reform priority. It contains four sociopsychological elements -- joy in learning, effectiveness of communication, creativity, and sense of commitment -- and points out that education for lifelong learning should emphasise more on the inner qualities of a person than personal skills. The policy also recognises for the first time that human knowledge is constructed.
This paper analyses the texts of the 2006 progress report and the 2000 policy document and discovered that the progress reported has essentially neglected the priority stated in the policy.
In parallel with the textual analysis, the paper explores the meanings of the four socio - psychological elements from the perspective of personal inner qualities.
Suggestions: The paper is a reminder that the priority stated in the policy is what the public want and what the EC has promised to act on. It would be undemocratic and negligent for the EC to bypass it quietly. The paper suggests that the deep meanings of the four socio-psychological elements should be explored, to be followed by modification of the strategies of the reform so as to fulfil what the public want. The paper also suggests supplementary empirical studies involving educational professionals to validate the results.