Development of adult education in Hong Kong since World War II
The thesis is concerned with the development of adult education in Hong Kong since World War II. An attempt is made to trace the growth of the educational system in the colony as a background to the detailed study of adult education provision which culminated in the establishment of the Adult Education Section in the Education Department in 1954. Adult education in Hong Kong, like contemporary Hong Kong itself, is largely a post-war development; although a number of voluntary organizations such as Y.M.C.A. and Y.W.C.A. had offered isolated programme for adults, ranging from literacy classes to housecrafts prior to the World War II. There is clearly not a well-defined and generally accepted concept of adult education in Hong Kong. The view is taken that adult education includes both formal and informal education, primarily designed for persons who are normally not attending full time day schools in the traditional and formalized system of education. At the same time, it is noteworthy that adult education activities are also attended by a sizable number of secondary school age students. In particular the thesis concentrates on the evolution of events leading to the formation of various adult education organizations most of which came into existence after the end of World War II. The major adult education programmes are examined in relation to social changes. There is also an attempt to see whether or not the importance of adult education as an agent of social or economic change has been sufficiently recognized. The role which the Government plays in facilitating adult education in the colony is also scrutinised. There has been little published work on adult education in Hong Kong except official annual reports and fragmented and isolated talks given by individuals. It is suggested that despite the rapid expansion of adult education in recent years, unco-ordinated provision, the lack of properly trained staff and the •half-hearted1 attitude displayed by the Government towards adult education are important reasons why many of these programmes or activities have not been fully utilised and explored. The explanation tsor this phenomenon appears to lie in the fact that most social approaches in Hong Kong (including education) are usually piecemeal with no provision for long term planning, although not infrequently the community is subject to external influence from Britain. If adult education is to achieve proper recognition among other professions in Hong Kong there appears to be an urgent need to build up such a status through research, training and continuous evaluation in the light of societal changes and needs. The thesis partly relies on the writer's own experience and personal contacts and mainly on closed and working files and miscellaneous reports and papers of various adult education bodies in Hong Kong.