HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach – 30 May 2023 – Content from two initiatives supported by The Hong Kong Jockey Club through its Charities Trust to promote innovation and technology (I&T) in primary and secondary schools will be adopted and adapted in two Curriculum Modules on Innovation and Technology Education soon to be launched by the Education Bureau (EDB). The initiatives, the Trust-created and funded CoolThink@JC programme and Trust-funded CUHK Jockey Club AI for the Future Project, were created to achieve that very purpose. They are intended to equip students with essential skills needed for a 21st-century workforce and enhance the digital competency among youngsters through the promotion of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) education.
The Club’s Executive Director of Charities and Community Dr Gabriel Leung noted that The Club has created and funded many projects over the years to help children and young people from different backgrounds thrive and to equip them with skills for their future success. The Club is delighted that both programmes’ materials are adopted and adapted by the EDB, to enable primary and secondary school students gain essential skills, knowledge and digital literacy. The Club will continue to support the growth and development of the next generation to nurturing future talent.
Speaking at the ceremony, Secretary for Education Dr Christine Choi especially thanked The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust for its generous support. She appreciated the Trust for the collaboration with the Education Bureau to consolidate and draw on the experience accumulated by the schools from the two projects, distil and develop them into two sets of learning and teaching materials on Innovation and Technology Education – the “Enriched Module on Coding Education for Upper Primary Level” and the “Module on Artificial Intelligence for Junior Secondary Level”. The curriculum modules will soon be issued for use by all publicly-funded schools in Hong Kong to help teachers integrate innovation and technology elements into school curricula more systematically. Schools are expected to implement enriched coding education at the upper primary level and to integrate learning of artificial intelligence into the junior secondary curriculum to cultivate students’ interest and capabilities in learning information technology and innovative technology at an early age, dovetailing with the EDB’s strengthened promotion of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) education and to foster I&T learning for all students in primary and secondary schools. The Secretary also thanked all primary and secondary school principals and teachers for their active participation in the two projects, creating a rich learning experience of innovation and technology for students, working together to promote innovation and technology education.
Talent is crucial in fostering innovation and technology development, and therefore nurturing students’ capabilities to learn science and technology should start from an early age. By adopting innovative, forward-looking approach, the Club seeks to create more social impact. To achieve this goal, it supports innovative service models and technology applications to enhance innovation capabilities in the community. Club-supported innovation and technology education programmes cater to primary and secondary students. They provide teaching materials, training and support to teachers, as well as public educational activities such as interschool coding and AI competitions and summer training camps, to enhance mathematical skills, logical thinking and scientific knowledge among the younger generation, thereby strengthening research capabilities. These programmes include:
CUHK Jockey Club AI for the Future project — launched in 2019, aims to enrich junior secondary school students’ knowledge of AI, inspire creativity, instil AI ethics and promote the use of AI for social good. So far, the programme has benefited over 10,000 students.
CoolThink@JC programme — created in 2016, aims to encourage upper primary students to employ digital creativity for tackling challenges in an increasingly digital future, empowering them to become technology creators. Since its creation, it has been used to train over 1,200 teachers to support computational thinking education in primary schools and benefited over 80,000 students. It has also received three worldwide accolades, attesting to its effectiveness, including a Silver Award in the Engineering & IT category and a Bronze Award in the Presence Learning & Teaching category of the QS Reimagine Education Awards 2021, and accreditation from the International Standards for Technology Education (ISTE).
The Club’s support for these projects, like all of its charity donations, is made possible by its unique integrated business model through which racing and wagering generate tax and charity support for the community. Indeed the Club’s support goes well beyond the financial. Together with its partners, the Club initiates and co‐creates programmes targeting emerging or unmet community needs, while also working to build capacity in the community.
Promoting digital education together with stakeholders
The Jockey Club and various stakeholders have worked tirelessly to promote computational thinking and artificial intelligence education. It is expected more than 110,000 upper primary students are anticipated to have benefited from the CoolThink@JC computational thinking courses by 2024. As the EDB rolls out the “Enriched Module on Coding Education for Upper Primary Level” curriculum to all primary schools, CoolThink@JC will provide more support to facilitate the new curriculum, including furthering support for teacher development, parent education, on-site support and teacher support networks, and providing assistance to students from underprivileged families.
The CUHK Jockey Club AI for the Future Project co-created the first-of-its-kind “Artificial Intelligence Curriculum for Junior Secondary Students in Hong Kong – Teaching and Learning Pack”, which is ideally coupled with the delivery of certain introductory modules. The project has also developed a robotic car, “CUHK-JC iCar”. CUHK Jockey Club AI for the Future Project has entered a second phase, with the aim to engage close to 50% of secondary schools in Hong Kong and broaden AI education in senior forms, as well as to work closely with the industry to establish and strengthen a sustainable AI learning and teaching ecosystem.
Professor Rocky S. Tuan, Vice-Chancellor and President of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, before the event, said, “AI and machine learning represent some of the most profound changes to potentially all aspects of society since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Literacy in AI, and an understanding of these technologies will be fundamental to economic competitiveness in the 21st century. This work must start at school, and that is why this project will be transformative for Hong Kong’s capability to thrive in a vital area of economic activity. CUHK has a responsibility to leverage its longstanding capability in AI so that more people across society can thrive in an era that will be driven by this rapidly evolving technology. Hong Kong has a once in a generation opportunity to be at the forefront of the AI economy and this project represents a major effort in producing the AI leaders of tomorrow.”
Prof. Stephen Cheung, President, The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK), one of the co-creators of CoolThink@JC offered his congratulations on the success of the programme, and said, “EdUHK is committed to promoting coding and STEAM education, as well as other innovative learning initiatives. Making computational education as part of the school curriculum is what we have been championing. The incorporation of the CoolThink@JC Programme into one of the new curriculums to be launched by the EDB represents due recognition of the shared vision and concerted efforts of The Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Programme creators. It is particularly encouraging to see that many more students will have access to the CoolThink@JC learning experience with its wider application.”
Professor Matthew Lee, Vice-President (Development and External Relations) of City University of Hong Kong, another co-creator of CoolThink@JC, believes that the project can inspire student’s digital creativity for their proactive use of technologies for social good, nurturing future talents in innovation and technology in Hong Kong. City U designs a series of diversified parent-child coding workshops to help parents master computational thinking skill, promoting computational thinking as a mainstream education curriculum.
57 schools commended for their outstanding contributions
The CoolThink@JC Commendation Scheme 2023 presented awards including in the CoolThink@JC Fellow and CoolThink@JC High-flyer categories to students and teachers to acknowledge their immense passion and contributions to computational thinking and artificial intelligence education. The awardees were selected by a panel of judges from The Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Education University of Hong Kong, MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node, and City University of Hong Kong. While the teachers and students of pioneering schools participating in the CUHK Jockey Club AI for the Future Project were presented with certificates of appreciation.
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