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Speak Better English With Ocean Park’s Pioneering

2008-07-10

Interactive Eco-English Adventure Programme

Ocean Park Academy Recognises The Year’s Top Students and Schools

(Hong Kong – 10 July 2007) Ocean Park Academy, Hong Kong (OPAHK), the education arm of Ocean Park Hong Kong, reported a fruitful 2006/2007 term with close to 45,000 students, teachers and parents benefiting from their programmes. At a ceremony held to recognise exceptional achievements by the students, OPAHK also launched a new series of over 30 courses, including a groundbreaking initiative in eco-education for the new 2007/2008 term, by delivering Hong Kong’s first interactive Eco-English Adventure* programme.

The Eco-English Adventure programme is jointly developed by OPAHK and the British Council Hong Kong, combining the Council’s expertise in English teaching and the use of teaching materials developed from and inspired by Ocean Park’s fascinating collection of deep sea animals and wildlife.

“The Ocean Park Academy is an effective platform for Ocean Park to share with the community the knowledge and resources we’ve accumulated over the past 30 years,” Ocean Park Chief Executive, Tom Mehrmann, said. “Through the Eco-English Adventure programme, students can expand their language skills with qualified English teachers from the British Council, and expand their horizons on deep sea animals and wildlife with OPAHK’s educators, who will lead them on eco-tours at the Park’s facilities.”

Ocean Park Executive Director of Zoological Operations, Ms. Suzanne Gendron, added that, “This programme is in line with Ocean Park’s values of education and wildlife conservation. And, as shown by the findings of a survey we’ve conducted with the British Council, there is a definite interest and demand in the community for high quality English coaching as well as for interactive, nature-driven courses like the ones offered by OPAHK for local students.”

The OPAHK-British Council survey* was conducted to gauge the demand and interest among the teaching staff of Hong Kong primary schools for the Eco-English programme proposed by OPAHK. All respondents welcomed the idea. Furthermore, an overwhelming majority of respondents believed this programme will enhance the English proficiency level of Hong Kong students, and numerous respondents even noted that this will be an effective method of raising students’ awareness on environmental issues.

Mr. Mehrmann said, “We are very pleased with the support from schools. One of the prominent trends we noticed for the 2006/2007 term was the movement towards whole school participation with parent-teacher association involvement, a development from the previous participation by individual classes only. The popularity of our programmes stems especially from the opportunity for parents to learn and solve quizzes together with their children.” According to Mr. Mehrmann, close to 4,000 parents attended our programmes over the recent term.

Looking into the future, Mr. Mehrmann said that OPAHK will continue to bolster its presence as a leading provider of zoological and conservation education in Hong Kong, as well as in the region. “OPAHK is a key player in the International Zoo Educators Association, as well as the Hong Kong Environmental Education Group. We have always worked closely with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and zoo educators in the region to develop effective programmes on wildlife education and environmental protection, and these initiatives will continue as Ocean Park fulfils its mission to educate and connect people with nature,” he said.

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About Ocean Park
Ocean Park is Hong Kong’s unique home-grown theme park with a heritage of delivering family fun and fond memories. Since its opening in January 1977 as a non-profit organization, Ocean Park has developed itself to be a world-class attraction connecting people with nature, and recognized for its animal husbandry, research and relationship with the community. Over 80 million people have visited Hong Kong's premier park since its inception and Ocean Park has remained committed to offer adults and children experiences that blend entertainment with education and conservation.

About Ocean Park Academy, Hong Kong
Ocean Park Academy, Hong Kong is the education arm of Ocean Park Hong Kong. Within the diversified environs of Ocean Park, and in an integrated and sustainable manner, it offers participatory and fun-filled programmes on nature and conservation to enrich learners of all ages.

About British Council Hong Kong
The British Council is the United Kingdom’s international organisation for education and cultural relations. It meets local needs in the fields of learning, creativity and society. It builds mutually beneficial relationships between people in Hong Kong and the UK. It is non-political and operates independently in 109 countries worldwide. It has served the Hong Kong community since 1948.