News Centre

7 Oct 2016

Survey on the Global Vision of Hong Kong Senior Secondary Students: Students have weak International Horizon Especially for Grassroots Families

7 Oct 2016

A questionnaire survey on the global vision of local senior students and the factors contributing to differences among students has been conducted by the International Affairs Research Centre, Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), sponsored by the Quality of Education Fund and in collaboration with Roundtable Education. Prof. Simon Shen was the principal investigator and Mr. Wilson Chan, Mr. Jacky Fung and Mr. George Tsang were research team members. According to the survey, 20% of senior secondary students disagree or totally disagree that they have sufficient international horizon and around 60% respondents indicate that their level of international horizon is average. 

The survey was conducted against the background of a proposal by The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to include Global Competence, along with its assessment of Reading, Mathematics, Science and Financial Literacy, in its 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), an international assessment of the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students. This is to reflect the changing needs in knowledge and related skills for the era of globalization. Countries and cities, in particular those with export-oriented and investment-driven economies, have actively reformed their education system in order to nurture students in global vision and related skill sets, to maintain their competitiveness in the global economy. It is, therefore, of vital importance to understand the global vision of Hong Kong senior secondary students, who will sooner or later become pillars of the society, and the factors contributing to differences among students. 

The survey was conducted from June to July 2016, and a total of 657 respondents from 26 secondary schools who were Secondary 4 to Secondary 6 students in the academic year 2015/16 returned questionnaires. The questionnaire has 11 questions on international knowledge, which use 1 or 0 to indicate a right or wrong answer and the average mark for answering these questions is 5.97, which is just a pass mark. In the part in which the students are requested to state examples of different categories of international horizon, in most categories, besides public health, students could not give any example. Hence the survey indicates that, generally, Hong Kong senior secondary students have a weak international horizon which needs strengthening. 

The survey also reflects the positive relationship between the factor of family economic condition and the students’ self-assessment of their global vison and international knowledge. The survey data have been categorized into three groups, according to the average monthly income of a family: up to HK$20,000, HK$20,000-40,000, and HK$40,000 or above. The average mark for self-assessment of global vision for these three groups is 3.07, 3.17 and 3.26 respectively. The average mark for international knowledge for these three groups is 5.84, 5.86 and 6.49 respectively. This reveals that students from a family with an average monthly income of HK$40,000 or above would have advantages in developing their global vision and international knowledge, while the students from the family with a lower monthly income could be disadvantaged. 

Furthermore, the survey results indicate that information media and cultural media, such as websites, social media and films, become the most popular way for senior secondary students to acquire international knowledge, while drama, textbooks and newspapers are of subordinate importance. The research team also states that there may be a positive relatedness between global vision and cultural adaptiveness, which reflects that those who have a better international horizon and knowledge will have advantages in exchanges with people from different countries, and in communication with and acceptance of other cultures. 

Summarizing from the above findings, the research team suggests that it is the responsibility of the government, schools, non-governmental organizations and media to work together to develop students’ global vision and related knowledge. It especially recommends work on (1) enhancing and inputting resources to develop the global vision of students from grassroots families; (2) enhancing the development of web, social media and innovative technologies; (3) optimizing curriculum and teaching strategies. 

The team also addresses how the national policy of “Belt and Road” could contribute to much more understanding of cultures from regions apart from the USA, Europe, Japan and South Korea, such as the Middle East and Africa. It will become a critical point for the Hong Kong students when they go beyond their hitherto narrow global vision and understand the plurality of global societies and specifically different cultures. This would broaden the students’ horizons as well as enhance the students’ cultural adaptiveness and openness. By this, the students could adopt good elements from different cultures and think of various possibilities for innovation. For the above survey data and the details, please see the attachment (Chinese only).