University of Hong Kong (HONG KONG)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 459-464
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
The words learning outcomes, active learning and authentic assessment have long been hot educational topics in Europe, US and Australia, this student-centred learning phenomenon has also began to spread to Asia. There is also an international trend towards curriculum revolution and renewal (Slattery, 2008).

In Hong Kong, this educational globalization is taking a step further. Unlike most countries, where curriculum reform is usually initiated by the university or professional body in a small scale, the Educational Bureau in Hong Kong is enforcing a national reform on secondary and higher education. One of the biggest challenges in this reform for the higher education sector is the implementation of the academic structure from 3 years undergraduate degree to 4 years in the context of (Biggs and Tang, 2007) Outcome Based Approach to Student Learning (OBASL).

Hong Kong has very traditional learning and teaching methods which are teacher-centred and content-based learning (Kember, 1997). In fact, education has often been described as “spoon-fed” and students’ survival in the education system is essentially placed on heavy rote learning. Understanding and quality student work is often being replaced by memorization and excessive quantity of work. Questioning (Watkins and Zhang, 2006) and creativity in class are unusual and also subdued. In addition, the education system has often been criticized of having too-narrow of a stream focus, with little on general knowledge. The perceptions of students and teachers on group projects and open-ended assignments can be rather negative as students and teachers alike are used to the assessment of exams than of pro-active learning assessments. Teachers who try to adopt new teaching assessment methods often find themselves receiving low Student Experience (SET) scores. Some of these issues are heavily related to the culture which plays a huge role in the aspects on students and teachers. So how can we overcome this barrier for them?

In this paper, we will discuss about how Hong Kong a small Asian cosmopolitan city with a large population of 6.9 million people deals with this educational globalization, and how one of the world’s leading universities engages in the issues and concerns surrounding the curriculum, pedagogical development and assessments in hope to enhance learning. We will discuss the pros and cons that associated with a large scaled national educational reform in relation to the pedagogical development in Hong Kong. And distinguish and differentiate some of the educational challenges due to cultural differences from the perspectives of students and teachers in the Western and Hong Kong Asian education.

Biggs, J. and Tang C. (2007). Teaching for Quality Learning at University. 3rd Ed. Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press.
Kember, D. (1997). A reconceptualisation of the research into university academics’ conceptions of teaching. Learning and Instruction, 7(3), 255–275, Elsevier.
Slattery, L (2008). Courses trim for global outlook. The Australian, 24 Sept 2008
Watkins, D. and Zhang Q. (2006). The Good Teacher – A Cross-Cultural Perspective, Effective Schools, 185–204. Information Age Publishing.
globalisation, learning outcomes, outcome based learning, curriculum reform, curriculum renewal.