After the hand-over of Hong Kong to China in 1997, a series of educational innovations was introduced by the Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government. In fact, before he took his office, the Chief Executive of the SAR, Tung Chee Hwa, had publicly announced that he would tackle education issues. Thus, educational innovation has been implemented consistently since 1997. These innovations influence the whole education system, from classroom level to system level, in Hong Kong. The Government is deliberately playing the role as the pioneer in leading Hong Kong education into a relatively more professional era. Under these recent innovations, educational leaders will work in a context which is professionalised, organically organised, decentralised and proactive.
This paper will analyse three of these innovations, namely the exchange program of the Education Department, the new appraisal program for school principals and the assessment of teachers' language proficiency. These three innovations have covered both the system and the school level. The paper will further reveal the SAR government's intention to promote a new direction for its administration: the emphasis is no longer on experience but professional performance and appraisal. This paper will also deal with the likely outcomes of this series of educational innovations and their influences on educational leaders in the 'new' Hong Kong.[Copyright of Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) at http://www.aare.edu.au]