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Hong Kong ... ...
    163 have to quit teaching English
Alfons Chan
2004-06-10 06:38

A total of 163 teachers will no longer be allowed to teach English after failing the government's language benchmark test.

This was revealed in the latest results of the Language Proficiency Assessment for Teachers (LPAT) announced by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) yesterday.

"Some of these teachers will be redeployed to teach other subjects in their own schools, while about 40 of them have decided to leave the teaching profession," said Susanna Cheung, the Education and Manpower Bureau's (EMB) principal assistant secretary for Professional Development and Training.

This latest benchmark test marks the deadline for English teachers who entered the profession in 2002 and 2003 to meet the EMB's Language Proficiency Requirement (LPR).

"The number of ineligible teachers has seen a significant decrease compared to 2003, in which there were 333 local teachers who failed to meet the minimum language requirement," said Cheung.

Among test takers this year, about 63 per cent failed to meet the minimum requirement for writing and listening, while the best results were found in the category of classroom language application, with an 88 per cent pass rate.

Alan Urmston, a subject officer of the English benchmark test, attributed candidates' unsatisfactory writing and listening skills to the inability to adequately explain grammatical errors and misunderstandings of colloquial English usage by native speakers.

Urmston admitted that inadequacies in these areas will affect the quality of English teaching in the territory.

According to the EMB, 44 per cent of all serving English teachers and 50 per cent of Putonghua teachers have attained the LPR as of May.

A total of 4,588 candidates sat for the English papers in March, and 2,140 for the Putonghua papers, the bureau said.

"The results of the LPAT show promising indications that there will be enough language teachers meeting the language proficiency requirement by the end of 2006 as scheduled by the government," Cheung added.

Assessment reports of the tests will be released on the HKEAA and the EMB's websites, which will include chief examiners' observations for the reference of candidates and teaching institutions.

Applications for entering the upcoming LPAT in September will be accepted from June 23 to July 14.

(HK Edition 06/10/2004 page2)