A few days ago, a concerned parent posted a photo of her child’s English language worksheet. It contained a passage on the poor in Hong Kong who had to resort to living on houseboats as they could not afford the land. The parent seemed to be concerned as the passage is untrue in today’s context.
It read: “Lots of children in Hong Kong live in houseboats because their parents are too poor to buy homes on land. All summer long, they spend a lot of time helping their parents catch fish for a living.
When the children need a bath, they just jump into the sea. They and their pet dogs enjoy swimming. They have so much fun with their pet dogs in the water. They sleep on the wooden floor at night.
Would it be fun to live on a rocking houseboat all year round? What do you think?”
The worksheet attracted a lot of attention as people questioned the quality of language exercises and wondered if it was really given out to Primary School students.
Thankfully, the Ministry of Education was quick to respond. It already looked into the matter and said that the worksheet was written “some time ago”.
“We have removed it and will continue to check through the instructional materials to ensure their relevance and accuracy”. In lieu of this episode, the MOE will take the chance to review the English language programme for Primary levels so as to “better meet the needs of the learners of today”.
Thanks to the alert parent and MOE’s prompt action, the matter did not escalate into an ugly argument despite the negative comments other people had of it. It was nice to see everything clarified, communicated and resolved properly. There is really no need to fight everything out and make things ugly, isn’t it?
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