The Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) Review Committee may advise rolling out revamped exams for Primary 3 students across the territory next year, committee member Henry Tong Sau-chai told RTHK on Wednesday.

Primary school students. File

Tong said that their year-long review addressed several concerns and misunderstandings parents and teachers had towards the previous syllabus.

“We see no reasons for schools not wishing to take part in the new TSA,” he said.

The TSA – a series of assessments which aimed to help schools improve teaching based on information about students’ strengths and weaknesses – had been widely criticised for over-drilling students and turning them into exam-taking “machines”. Over 30,000 netizens petitioned against the controversial tests last year, which subsequently led to the Education Bureau taking steps to review them.

Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim told the media at an event on Thursday that the Education Bureau was expecting a report from the committee within days.

Ng said that “the response of the stakeholders, including principals, teachers, students, and parents were very positive.” He said he hoped that people would look at the revised TSA in new light.

‘Fooling parents’

Education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen told RTHK that “the committee has no valid reason to resume the test.” The committee’s view that the revised version of the TSA can eliminate incentives to practice for the test is only their subjective understanding, Ip said. “If the TSA is brought back next year, the pressure caused by over-drilling will still remain.”

Ip Kin-yuen. File

A concern group campaigning to abolish the TSAs issued a statement on Wednesday evening accusing Ng of “having fooled parents for a year.” The statement claimed that the year-long review was a fraud, and “it highlighted the government, the Education Bureau, and Ng Hak-kim’s absurdity.”

The statement went on to say that the Education Bureau is openly challenging parents. The group said they strongly urged the bureau to abolish the unnecessary test, adding that parents have the right to boycott the tests.

Stanley Leung

Stanley is a Media and Communications graduate from Goldsmiths College in London. He takes particular interest in visual journalism, having produced photographic and video work on a number of social and political issues. He has also interned at the current affairs service of RTHK’s TV division.