Perspective

Everything is Made Beautiful in its Time

The anniversary celebration of the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (the Authority) in 2017 is a special one. In the year, the Authority will recount its progress and development in the past 40 years since its inception in 1977, the same year which I began my life career in education.

As a novice teacher back then, I had no idea that I would be in any way related to the Authority. Neither had I ever imagined that decades down the line, my life path would intertwine with the Authority’s and the experience would even contribute to the penning of the last few chapters of my life career and commencement of retirement.

An Outsider
Before serving in the Authority, I was a teacher and later a principal who was working conscientiously to help prepare students to sit for public examinations administered by the Authority, the results of which would give them credentials for further studies and employment. At the same time, I also served as an invigilator, marker and oral examiner in these examinations.

A true believer in life-long learning, I have been a candidate who sat through the Putonghua and Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) examinations, and had my written examinations in the Authority’s San Po Kong office for various subjects in a distance-learning course. Of course, with children at home, I am also a parent whose children are well-served by the Authority. In these roles, I am greatly impressed by the integrity and credibility of the examination systems, their very smooth and painstaking administration and marking system.

An insider
In 2006, I was appointed a Council member of the Authority and was able to gain broader and more in-depth understanding of the various areas of work in this reputable organization. The more understanding I have, the greater respect I have for colleagues in the Authority.

The Education Reform since 2000 had called forth a complete overhaul of the education and assessment systems with its final challenge being the implementation of the New Senior Secondary Curriculum (NSS). As a partner with the Education Bureau, the Curriculum Development Council and other stakeholders, colleagues in the Authority accepted boldly the challenges to chart through untraveled oceans and venture onto new grounds. Strenuous efforts have been made, which no outsider would be able to fully comprehend, so that the transition between the two academic systems, the challenges of the double cohort year, and the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (HKDSE) could all be well-handled and smoothly delivered.

Behind the Reform, the challenges and workload were unprecedented and not easy to surmount. Despite that, proactive measures have been introduced to enhance the Authority’s services (especially in serving candidates with special educational needs as well as helping schools on assessment literacy and use of data). With the 6th batch of HKDSE candidates to graduate in the year, all colleagues in the Authority deserve our highest commendation. Without their dedication and diligence, we would not have been able to implement these changes as effectively and efficiently.

Inside Out
With the completion of my service in the Council in August 2016, I am once again an outsider, yet much transformed after the serving experience. While I am now retired and an ordinary citizen, there are indeed expectations and wishes so endeared.

In the way forward, it is much hoped that the Authority will continue its efforts in the Planning, Implementation and Evaluation (PIE) cycle to keep serving the Hong Kong community with the highest standard. It is also hoped that it would continue building up strong ties between learning and assessment and how assessment data can provide timely and accurate feedback that contributes to the education of our students who deserve all our efforts.

At the same time, it would be important for the government to provide strong support at policy and resources levels so that the Authority can stay focused and accomplish its mission entrusted. Besides, the way forward would never be fruitful or sustainable without the feedback, support and understanding of the general public.

With good will and collaboration of all, beautiful hearts and efforts will surely make things beautiful in its time!

My warmest congratulations to the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority on its 40th anniversary and may it continue to go from strength to strength!
Ms Ruth Shek Yuk-yu, JP
Deputy Chairperson (2012 – 2016)
Ms Ruth Shek Yuk-yu, JP
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