MORE and more children are joining kindergarten though the birth rate of Hongkong is decreasing.
The number of kindergarten students increased from 172,410 in March 1977 to 198; 351 in March this year, according to the Statistics Section of Education Department.
Many young mothers nowadays go out to work, and send their children to kindergartens, 5, said Miss Jean Afford, principal of Western Pacific Kindergarten.
The keen competition for Hong Kong education is another factor for the increase of students.
“Most parents want their children to start school early. They believe that getting a place in a famous primary school will guarantee a promising future for their children,” she said.
However, Miss Afford says that many primary school students cannot acquire good comprehension ability because they had not been taught to exercise their imagination and creative power during kindergarten.
The principal of Fatima Kindergarten, Miss Sansan Ching, believes that the nature of kindergarten education has been changed.
“Children should be offered basic development on social life, art, music and physical training. However in actual cases, most kindergarten operators are only concerned with the number of their students that can get into famous primary schools,” she said.
Education Department has a development committee to look after the future planning of education policy. But up to now it has not taken pre-school education as part of its educational policy planning.
There is no government sponsorship for kindergartens, no limit on curriculum, but only weak control over the qualification of kindergarten operators and teachers,” Miss Ching said.
She said the Education Department should impose firmer control over preschool education, first on the curriculum and then on the improvement of teacher qualification.
Miss Afford of Western Pacific Kindergarten expects kindergarten education will be put under Government control.
“We have learnt that the Government is planning a new curriculum for kindergarten. It is necessary, though it takes years to change, for a better kindergarten education in Hong Kong.”