How smart are smart schools in Hong Kong?

June 21, 2023 10:57
Ng Siu Mui Secondary School has launched a“Gerontech Park” project that sets up an extended classroom mocking a home setting to nature in students the skills to take care of the elderly at home. Photo: Salesians of Don Bosco Ng Siu Mui Secondary School

How far would a local school go to make its students smarter?

Take Salesians of Don Bosco Ng Siu Mui Secondary School, a boy school in Kwai Hing that went the extra mile to stimulate the young mind with innovation and technology.

Right, every educational institution is talking about coding and artificial intelligence courses for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). But not everyone is like Ng Siu Mui Secondary School that organised a seminar with Amazon Web Services on Chat GPT, Artificial intelligence and Web 3.0 for its teenagers three months ago.

Ng Siu Mui is also one of the early schools in using software to power its lighting and air-conditioner in its school hall, classroom, balcony and front gate by a company interestingly named Peoples Smart Living that provides a one-button solution saving some manpower.

No doubt it was the first local school to introduce three robots to provide hand sanitizer, measure temperature and offer words of encouragement to students during the DSE examination periods during the pandemic.

To say Ng Siu Mui is a school might be an understatement. It is part of a community that integrates technology into real life which I had the privilege of visiting recently, although I have to admit it is not a very accessible location by public transport.

But that does not stop the school’s aspiration to be innovative. This year, it came up with a new project “Gerontech Park”, an extended classroom that mocked a home setting to show students the skills to take care of the elderly at home. The project won the support of the Quality Education Fund, which put in HK$1.58 million in hopes to cultivate kindness toward senior citizens at a young age.

The room is equipped with smart sensors that could detect if an elderly might have fallen to the floor over an extended period. It also included a smart medicine dispenser its students developed that can distinguish up to 10 types of medicines to help the elderly better manage their prescribed medication.

Principal Li Kin-man, the mastermind behind all these innovative initiatives, said aging is an important issue in Hong Kong and that’s why his school took this social issue as an indispensable element in the curriculum via academic learning, extracurricular activities and volunteer services.

Li is never short of new ideas on his campus. In fact, he is looking for a new solution that will make gardening easier, more efficient and more engaging with students.

Smart city starts with smart school. “Any smart solution will have to be user-friendly, affordable and above all, benefit students. We hope to stimulate their imagination of the future society,” said Principal Li.

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Photo: Salesians of Don Bosco Ng Siu Mui Secondary School

EJ Insight writer