With technology playing an ever-more important role in everyday life, many educators have emphasised the value of teaching children computational thinking and coding skills from an early age. Responding to this need, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust has initiated the CoolThink@JC programme with the aim of equipping upper primary students with the basic coding capabilities to strengthen their computational thinking, as well as helping teachers master the necessary professional skills. The programme has been co-created by the Trust, the Education University of Hong Kong, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from the United States and City University of Hong Kong, with the support of the Education Bureau
Officiating at the CoolThink@JC launch ceremony today (15 November) were Club Deputy Chairman Anthony W K Chow and CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges; Hong Kong SAR Financial Secretary The Hon John C Tsang; President and Chair Professor of Public Policy of The Education University of Hong Kong, Professor Stephen Cheung; Chancellor for Academic Advancement of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Professor Eric Grimson; and President and University Distinguished Professor of City University of Hong Kong, Professor Way Kuo. Almost 200 leading experts and educators, as well as representatives from the Government and industry, also came along to support the initiative.
Mr Chow told the guests that CoolThink@JC was not only about coding and programming but also about empowering students to become problem-solvers and creators in the digital world. "The Trust has encompassed innovation as one of the core value drivers in its charitable works to create more social impact, be it innovation in service models, application of technology, or development of innovation capacity in the community," he said.
Mr Tsang thanked The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust for launching the seminal CoolThink@JC initiative, which will enable some 16,500 primary students to learn to embrace technology as the smart tool to solve problems, to create and to innovate. "More importantly, CoolThink@JC reflects a much larger strategy of our Government in making Hong Kong an innovation and technology leader in the global economy," he said.
Funded with a Trust donation of HK$216 million, CoolThink@JC is a four-year programme aimed at developing evidence-based teaching materials, increasing teacher capacity and developing community support. It will inspire students to apply digital creativity in their daily lives and enhance young people's capacity to contribute to the city's economic and social development. Compared with computing and coding education programmes in the school curricula of other advanced economies such as the UK, Japan and Korea, it has a number of unique features, including:
CoolThink@JC will also provide a valuable reference to Government for including computing and coding into Hong Kong educational curricula in the future. It reflects the Club's strong commitment to the betterment of Hong Kong, in particular to the development of young people, which is one of the strategic focus areas of the Club's Charities Trust.
The programme is expected to benefit over 16,500 primary four to six students from 32 local schools, as well as 100 teachers. The 32 pilot schools will set up a CoolThink@JCclassroom, providing electronic equipment and a set of tools for supporting creative thinking, to encourage students to learn coding and inspire their creativity in an interactive and enlightening environment. For more details, please visit: http://www.coolthink.hk/.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club
The Hong Kong Jockey Club is a not-for-profit enterprise dedicated to community betterment. Through its integrated business model of world-class racing, responsible sports wagering and lottery, and charity and community contribution, the Club generates substantial economic and social value and assists the Government in combatting illegal gambling. In 2015/16 the Club donated a record HK$3.9 billion to charity and paid a record HK$20.9 billion in tax. It is Hong Kong's largest single tax payer and one of the world's largest charity donors. Committed to global excellence and giving back to society, the Club is always "riding high together for a better future" with the people of Hong Kong.
Club Deputy Chairman Anthony W K Chow says CoolThink@JC is not only about coding and programming but also about empowering students to become problem-solvers and creators in the digital world.
Club Deputy Chairman Anthony W K Chow (3rd left) and Club CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges (2nd right) are joined at the CoolThink@JC launch ceremony by Hong Kong SAR Financial Secretary The Hon John C Tsang (3rd right); President and Chair Professor of Public Policy of The Education University of Hong Kong, Professor Stephen Cheung (2nd left); Chancellor for Academic Advancement of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Professor Eric Grimson (1st right); and President and University Distinguished Professor of City University of Hong Kong, Professor Way Kuo (1st left).