29 November 2018

Dear Parents and Students,

Language is not only a tool for connecting the world, but also the foundation for learning any discipline. Therefore, competency in the given language helps students to better understand what they learn. The Hong Kong education policy expects students to become biliterate and trilingual, and the importance of Chinese language in Hong Kong is undeniable. It is true that communication and teaching using the mother tongue makes it easier for students to learn and understand. However, English is an international language. In Hong Kong, where Chinese and western cultures are gathered together, English is undoubtedly highly valued, especially in academic research, international exchanges, government documents and understanding law.

Historical values and context heavily influence the development of language and writing. Therefore, learning in both Chinese and English is not only about language, but about understanding both eastern and western cultures. It also helps to strengthen the individual's ability to express, communicate and understand. Besides, knowledge cannot be passed on without language. For example, the symbols of the periodic table in chemistry are from English, such as ‘C’ for Carbon and ‘O’ for Oxygen. Therefore, learning Chemistry in English is more efficient than in other languages. The idea is the same for poetry. Translated versions seldom convey the exact meaning or mood as the original. Extraordinary artistic conceptions or feelings, like a famous phrase in “The Legend of the Condor Heroes” by Jin Yong「桃花影落飛神劍,碧海潮生按玉簫。」 , or a quote from Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, can’t be fully translated.

Pooi To was founded in Guangzhou in 1888 by a missionary of the Southern Baptist Convention. It was a Christian school for women. The Hong Kong branch was established in 1945 and became an independent school. In the 1950s, influenced by missionaries, many activities were conducted in English, and the library contained a large number of English books. In the 1960s and 1970s, Science and Mathematics were taught using English books, and all other subjects were taught using the mother-tongue. In 1978, Pooi To started to emphasize mother-tongue education. This changed in 2009, when the Education Bureau implemented the "School-based medium of instruction for junior secondary levels" policy, which aims to nurture students to be biliterate and trilingual. In 2010/11, Pooi To officially launched a new milestone in “Bilingual Education” to strengthen students’ English language based on a strong foundation in Chinese. Other than English lessons, Mathematics, Integrated Science and ICT in Junior Forms, together with History in S1 and S2 have adopted English as a medium of instruction. Humanities are still conducted in the mother-tongue, with “Language across Curriculum” books used to extend students’ English vocabulary and exposure to humanities.

“Bilingual Education" at Pooi To has been implemented over the last seven years, with Chinese language still being the strength of our school. Over this time, different batches of students under the above scheme have consistently been outstanding in the TSA and DSE Chinese as follows:

Chinese 2016 2017 2018
PT HK Difference PT HK Difference PT HK Difference
Level 4 or above 54.6% 26.7% +27.6% 44.6% 26.8% +17.8% 51.2% 29.4% +21.8%
Level 5 or above 11.8% 8.7% +3.1% 8.9% 8.7% +0.2% 17.9% 9.6% +8.3%
Level 5* or above 6.6% 3.5% +3.1% 4.5% 3.4% +1.1% 5.7% 3.8% +1.9%
(1-9 scale)
9 8 9

With regards to English, building an English learning environment is of upmost importance for students to improve. Over the years, we have not only emphasized English inside the classroom, but also focused on extending activities outside the classroom. The efforts were not made in vain. Instead, different indicators show that we are on the right track. We have had more than 98% of students reaching the standard in the TSA over the last 5 years, and in 3 of those years we had a 100% pass rate. In addition, a big jump in getting level 3 or above and level 4 or above is evident. 

English 2016 2017 2018
PT HK Difference PT HK Difference PT HK Difference
Level 3 or above 88.2% 54.2% +34.0% 87.5% 51.2% +36.3% 80.5% 52.3% +28.2%
Level 4 or above 32.9% 27.4% +5.5% 34.8% 26.4% +8.4% 26% 25.7% +0.3%

Recently, classes 2A and 2B achieved First and Third places respectively in the 70th Inter-school Speech Festival this year. Facing keen competition, our girls showed an incredible sense of passion and commitment, and managed to perform to their best. I am deeply grateful and appreciative of the efforts made by all teachers and students.

I would like to thank the parents for their support and trust in the implementation of the language policy of the school. I hope that the school will continue to work together to enable Pooi To girls to extend their language potential, so as to enhance their confidence and prepare for their future.


Best regards,
Constance Cheung

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”
(1 Peter 2:21)