Policy Address | Tam announces four schools selected for Canidrome land

The Canidrome land plot will be used for building new campuses for the Concordia School for Special Education, the Workers’ Children High School, the Escola Xin Hua, and the Escola de Santa Madalena, Secretary Alexis Tam announced yesterday at the Legislative Assembly, during the policy address presentation for the areas he supervises.

“The SAR government, through a discussion and analysis between the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau [DSEJ] and other entities, has decided that these four schools are more suitable for using the land,” said Alexis Tam.

The Secretary explained that the Escola de Santa Madalena must be moved from its current site, as both the Land, Transport and Public Works Bureau (DSSOPT) and the Transport Bureau (DSAT) are conducting road engineering works at said site.

“Since there are road works being carried out over there, this school has to be moved to allow DSSOPT and DSAT to flatten the road and open a new one to the public,” Tam explained.

The Workers’ Children High School has also been closed due to the aforementioned road project, which gives the government reason to move this school to the Canidrome land as well.

“I [have] visited these three schools before. Their conditions were rather bad,” said Tam, adding that “we should build campuses [for the three schools] which have blue sky.”

According to Tam, three of the four schools are within 250 meters of the Canidrome land. The Concordia special school is comparatively far from the Canidrome land compared to the other three.

“We have already discussed. We all very much agree on the selection. The entities are also basically agreeing with the SAR government and DSEJ,” said Tam. According to him, other local schools, which are in need of better campuses, are more interested in moving their premises to the New Urban Zone A than the Canindrome land.

“Within this year, we will announce campus sites for these schools [in need of land], such as the New Urban Zone A. There are also a few [plots of] land saved for the education sector that will be given to schools [in need],” said Tam.

“We have had discussions with the Escola Dos Moradores de Macau [and others schools], but they [the schools] believe that moving the campuses to the New Urban Zone A is also a good choice,” Tam added.

Moreover, Tam said that, within one year, plans for all these schools in urgent need of new campuses will become available.

In addition to new campuses, the Secretary was also asked by Chief Executive (CE) appointed lawmaker Pang Chuan about the enhancement of civil education.

The lawmaker enquired what the Macau SAR government’s plan is in terms of ensuring that local students and youth will not be affected by Macau’s neighboring region, which shows little national identity.

The lawmaker, citing survey results, highlighted that more than 80 percent of Macau’s youth sense a strong national identity. However, he still argued that the sense of national identity among young people needs to be enhanced.

Responding to Pang, Tam noted that the local government will continue the national flag raising ceremony in local schools.

Besides this traditional patriotic education, which is fully adopted in all schools across mainland China and in many schools in Macau, Tam noted that the local government will organize more students to participate in camping activities on the mainland, among others, including military-style student training activities, in order to enhance young people’s national identity.

“In the future, we will promote diversified patriotism education,” said Tam.

Festivals blamed for leading youth into misbehavior

Lawmaker Fong Ka Chio has blamed festivals for creating greater opportunities for young people to behave improperly, for instance consuming drugs, having sex, or participating in online gambling.

“Christmas is coming. Festival atmosphere easily leads to sexual behavior, drug consuming,” said Fong, further clarifying that “I’m not discriminating [against] young people, but can the SAR government do more things [to prevent youth misbehavior]?”

“Does the government have specific measures to prevent youth from falling into these temptations?” Fong asked.

“Christmas is almost here. Underage misbehaviors might result in consequences that cannot be ignored.” he added.

In addition to blaming festivals, Fong also suggested that Macau should have corridors to connect all casinos in Cotai.

“The corridor, which is under a 24-hour supervision by the Macau government, can be used for local recreational products, local arts, and M-Pop,” said Fong, adding “I hope that the corridor can bring local recreational products to the 30 million tourists who come from different countries, and therefore create a development [opportunity] for these local recreational products.”

In response to Fong, Alexis Tam said that the local government places specific focus on children.

“We have also noticed deviations in behaviors. We pay special importance to education on drug consumption, sex and gambling,” said Alexis Tam.

“We hope that through the cooperation between the government, the schools, the families, and the community, we can teach the youth to know what is right. We provide preventive education, such as sex education,” said Tam.

“We also send SMSs, […] especially on holidays, and particularly during Christmas. We send messages to the schools in order to remind them [to educate children on misbehavior],” said Tam.

On the Secretary’s’Agenda

EARLY CHILDHOOD     INTERVENTION The Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Alexis Tam has claimed that “no place in the world has better early childhood intervention than Macau because they [other countries] ask for payment.” The Secretary declared that Macau has the world’s number one early childhood intervention services because patients do not need to pay for services and because patients do not need to wait  long before receiving the services. “Our medical service takes its place in the front worldwide ranks [regarding vaccines]. Macau has the highest vaccination rates in Asia,” said Tam. “Our public hospitals’ services are not bad at all; not as bad as what is being said outside,” he noted. 


GUIDES The local government and the Guangdong provincial tourism department, as well as the Zhuhai cultural and tourism department, are discussing a solution for illegal mainland tour guides working in Macau. Lawmakers Si Ka Lon and Sulu Sou drew attention to the recent situation in which mainland tour guides conduct mainland package tours to Macau.  The Secretary said that the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) has been following up on the issue. Tam also said that he “pays a lot of attention” to the illegal tour guide situation, and that he has ordered MGTO to follow the case and to protect the interests of the Macau tour guide industry.

EDUCATION SYSTEM Sulu Sou wants Macau to reform its education system, in particular the method of “teaching to the test” and the mechanical training students receive whereby they recite in order to memorize knowledge. “The youngest students in tutoring centers are K2 students. [Some] pupils only leave the tutoring center after 10 p.m. or 11 p.m..  Some kindergartens force students to practice handwriting. More and more parents are criticizing recitation,” said Sou. Secretary Alexis Tam did not reply to Sou, nor to many other questions posed by lawmakers, due to the shortage of time.

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