When Chu Tsz-wing became the principal at Baptist Rainbow Primary School in 2013, the school had a shortage of students and its closure was looming. This is not surprising, given the aging population of Wong Tai Sin, where it is located.
To counter the situation, Chu, born in the 1980s, made a bold decision to accept cross-border pupils from Shenzhen. It was the first school to do so in Kowloon. Also, he introduced happy learning into the school curriculum and began motivating students based on their interests.
A year later, I joined the school to research on how to bring reforms to Hong Kong’s education system under the current policies. That’s where I first heard the term “edupreneur” from Chu.
To improve the quality of education, Chu introduced e-teaching, which not only means using e-books to replace traditional textbooks but also integrating technology into learning and assessment.
Pupils no longer need to carry heavy school bags. As doing homework and grading them have become more efficient, teachers can spend more time with the kids and play the more important role of guiding their growth.
The school recently launched DreamStarter, a project aimed at encouraging students to take steps to fulfill their dreams. It also introduced a crowd-funding model that allows individuals and companies to participate in helping pupils achieve their dreams.
Baptist Rainbow has now become a well-regarded pioneer in local school reform.
While most parents in Hong Kong prefer to send their kids to prestigious schools or international schools, Baptist Rainbow Primary School has changed the common perception that so-called housing estate schools are all mediocre.
The education industry is a challenge for me, although I have extensive experience in startups. My job at Baptist Rainbow is to encourage students’ creativity, and help them learn from their mistakes. Not everyone will become an entrepreneur when they grow up, but I believe creativity is essential in the new era.
As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec 15
Translation by Julie Zhu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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