Curriculum Transition in Vocational English: A Case of the Hong Kong Vocational and Professional Education and Training Pathway

Thomas Siu Ho Yau; Derek Wai Sun Chun; Sky Wai Man Chan

Special Issue 11卷2期 (2020 / 12 / 01); P20 – 34

DOI: 10.6706/TIESPJ.202012_11(2).0002 


Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) has been highlighted in recent years as one of the diversified pathways in post-secondary education. The current curriculum in Hong Kong also mentions a component named Vocational English (VE) which has been included in the VPET pathway since 2018. It is supported by a novel VE programme launched by the Education Bureau (EDB) to enhance students’ English proficiency for vocational education and work. It also marks an attempt at the vocationalization of the English curriculum to prepare students for a smooth school-to-work transition. To provide sustainable articulation for students with an interest in and aptitude for the VPET pathway, Applied Learning (ApL) (Vocational English) was newly proposed in 2020 as an elective subject at the senior secondary level to prepare students for further studies or career pursuits. However, judging from the domain of English for Specific Purposes (ESP), successful VE should develop learners’ disciplinary language, content knowledge and specialized task discourse for vocational purposes (Widodo, 2015). Therefore, this paper aims to investigate whether the suggested design and planning of the vocationalization of the English programme is effective, and to discuss whether it could better facilitate students’ English learning for their development in the VPET pathway. Individual interviews and focus groups were conducted with students and teachers at the secondary and the post-secondary levels to consolidate their views on and perceptions of the VE programme. Findings of the current study indicate that the progress of vocationalization of English remains relatively stigmatized for both groups of interviewees owing to the low recognition level and the long-standing stereotype of vocational education in Hong Kong. The paper concludes with a concrete suggestion regarding the needed improvement for better implementation of the vocationalization of English through the VE program, which is crucial for facilitating the overall VPET development in Hong Kong.

Click here to view the article.