Teacher Qualification and Professional Development

In document Children First Right Start for All (Page 43-48)

Chapter 4 Teacher Professionalism

4.1 Teacher Qualification and Professional Development



qualification of KG teachers felt that it would denote the high quality of KG education.

It will also ensure professionalism among teachers and attract high quality individuals to the KG profession. Nevertheless, some considered that the minimum entry requirement for KG teachers should be maintained at the Certificate in Early Childhood Education [C(ECE)] level because teachers with C(ECE) had proved themselves to be proficient teachers over the years with adequate competencies in delivering quality KG education services. It was also noted that various teacher education institutions (TEIs) are currently offering government-subsidised C(ECE) programmes on a yearly basis with around seven hundred graduates who are highly regarded by KGs, entering the profession each year. The actual number of C(ECE) graduates are indeed more than a thousand if the graduates from self-financed C(ECE) programmes are to be included. The new blood is highly treasured in the sector and any change to the existing policy should not jeopardize the career prospect of C(ECE) prospective graduates who are receiving training at the TEIs. The Committee is also mindful that setting the minimum requirement to a degree level is not a universal practice worldwide. Similar to Hong Kong, a number of countries have set the minimum entry requirement at non-degree level. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach in setting the degree entry level requirement on all new KG teachers will not be desirable.

4.1.5 There were also views that before the goal of having an all graduate teaching force was to be achieved, a percentage of degree holders should be set in each KG in the interim, with specified timeline for achieving the ultimate target.

Those in favour of this are also those who support raising the entry requirement of KG teachers for enhancing professionalism among teachers and attracting high quality individuals to the KG profession. However, other members considered that graduates from C(ECE) programmes have proved themselves to be competent in delivering quality services. Making it mandatory for upgrading serving teachers to degree level would create undue pressure on serving teachers, especially in view of the fact that the majority of them had just finished pursuing C(ECE) between the school years 2007/08 to 2011/12. The pressure on teachers might in turn cause a negative impact on the delivery of quality KG education. The dichotomy of degree and non-degree holders might even affect the morale of the latter. Moreover, the need to recruit a specified percentage of teachers with a degree would pose undue pressure on KGs as well. Other members cautioned that making it mandatory for


professional upgrading involved detailed and careful planning on issues such as the provision of training places for various TEIs, the financial and human resources implications on the Government, etc.

The Committee’s Recommendations

4.1.6 The Committee considers that upgrading KG teachers to degree and trained level could help enhance the quality of KG education in Hong Kong. It is of the view that the Government should aim at raising the entry qualification requirement of KG teachers to degree level. Leadership positions in KG including principals and vice-principals should be degree holders. Senior teachers should preferably be degree holders as well. The Committee considers that EDB should study the issue of setting a graduate teacher ratio for each KG in its review after implementation of the future KG education policy. In the interim, EDB should continue to provide opportunity and create capacity for serving teachers to upgrade their qualifications.

4.1.7 The Committee agrees that it is of paramount importance that all teachers should seek to keep themselves abreast of latest KG education developments through their continuous professional development (CPD). The Committee considers that teachers’ CPD is equally important. A professional teacher does not only need to have a good initial education, but must also make sure that the effects of initial education are sustainable. CPD can fill in the knowledge and skills that may be lacking or require updating on the part of teachers with reference to the current trends in KG education. The Committee recommends that in general, the existing local and non-local PDPs organised by both EDB and TEIs could be enhanced to further promote the KG teachers’ professional competencies in response to the latest development of KG education in Hong Kong and worldwide. Some areas for enhancement could be: enhancing teacher training to better prepare KG teachers for supporting children with diverse needs; equipping KG teachers with some basic knowledge of lower primary school education, so that they are more capable of getting their children ready for P1; and

30 fine-tuning the induction programmes for newly appointed KG teachers to better equip them with the skills needed for the job.

CPD Policy

4.1.8 In order to upgrade the skills of KG teachers and principals more systematically, the Committee is of the view that a CPD policy with appropriate targets could be developed for the sector. Additional resources should also be made available to create capacity for teachers to pursue professional development.

Similar to the existing CPD Policy for the primary and secondary school personnel, the one for the KG teachers and principals could include three aspects: target CPD hours; modes of study; and content structure in form of competencies frameworks.

4.1.9 For the target CDP hours and modes of study, the Committee recommends a soft target of around 150 hours for every three years for KG teachers and principals.

KG personnel could upgrade the skills themselves through structured training mode such as seminars and workshops, or other modes such as professional sharing in school.

Teacher Competencies Framework (TCF) and Principal Competencies Framework (PCF)

4.1.10 As an integral part of the CPD policy, a TCF and a PCF should be formulated to set forth the skills and knowledge specifically suggested for KG teachers and principals to ultimately promote the well-being of young children. Teachers and principals could refer to the respective frameworks to strategically plan their own training based on their own professional needs.

(a) TCF

With regard to the TCF, the Committee has studied the existing framework for the primary and secondary sectors and considers it could serve as a reference


for developing the TCF for the KG sector. The KG TCF could include four domains with specific content areas under each domain: Learning and Teaching

Design of integrated curriculum, e.g. developmentally appropriate practices, play-based learning, etc.

Pedagogical content knowledge of various learning areas

Continuous assessment and evaluation Child Development

Catering for children’s diverse needs in school

Whole person development of children School Development

School’s vision and mission, culture and ethos

Policies, administration, procedures and practices

Home-school collaboration

Responsiveness to societal values and changes Professional Relationships and Services

Collaborative relationships within the school

Teachers' professional development

Involvement in policies related to education

Education-related community services and voluntary work

(b) PCF

Good leadership in KGs is essential to quality KG education. Unlike teachers who focus mainly on curriculum planning and learning and teaching, principals are faced with a wide range of other issues such as human resources, financial management and connections with outside organisations. Premised on the fact that teacher competencies should be the prerequisites of KG principals, the Committee is of the view that PCF should build upon the TCF. Since KG principals should also be further equipped with specific knowledge that enables them to lead their KG effectively and professionally for its sustainable


development, themes such as innovative thinking, school leadership, legal matters, child protection, communication with other organisations, etc. are considered desirable. Additional domains like “School Leadership” could also be included in the PCF.

In document Children First Right Start for All (Page 43-48)