With the motto of becoming a Future School, a Community School and a Well-being School in mind, Salesians of Don Bosco Ng Siu Mui Secondary School has always prioritized serving the elderly as one of its objectives. Created with a HK$1.58 million funding from the Quality Education Fund, the school is proud to announce the launch of Gerontech Park. Principal Li Kin Man’s vision is to make learning visible by teaching students to contribute to society and cultivating their kindness towards the community and our senior citizens, in addition to utilizing school facilities as community resources.
A spark of hope for two generations
The opening ceremony of Gerontech Park was held in December, with Dr.Choi Yuk Lin, JP, Secretary for Education of HKSAR as the officiating guest,and witnessed by a full house of movers and shakers of the education sectorincluding Dr. Jimmy Wong, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education, Mr. Howard Ling, Chief Consultant of the Social Enterprise Business Centre of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service and Professor of Practice of Hong Kong Baptist University, Mr. Eugene Fong, Chairman of the Committee on Home-School Co-operation, principals of secondary schools and primary schools, as well as the Star Mentors of Salesians of Don Bosco Ng Siu Mui Secondary School: Principal Chan Hung, Founder of Principal Chan Free Tutorial World, Mr. Chan Cheuk Ming, Founder of Pei Ho Counterparts, and Mr. Cheung Man Keung, renowned philanthropist and founder of Shing Kee Noodles. Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the school, the launch of Gerontech Park set a new milestone in achieving the school’s vision to become a Future School, a Community School and a Well-being School.
Principal Li remarks, “With the growth of the elderly population in Hong Kong, improving the quality of life of our senior citizens has become an important issue. Kwai Tsing District, where Salesians of Don Bosco Ng Siu Mui Secondary School is situated, is the home of many grassroots elderly. Our school has always included serving the elderly as an indispensable element in our curriculum, be it academic learning, extracurricular activities or volunteer services.” Using AI lens and coding techniques, a group of students developed a smart medicine dispenser that can distinguish up to 10 types of medicines to help the elderly better manage their prescribed medication. They became one of the top 20 finalists and won ‘My Favourite Project – Online Voting’ in the SMART Community Hackathon hosted by the HSBC Hong Kong Community Partnership Programme.
“In addition to enhancing our STEAM programme, Gerontech Park provides a friendly and cozy learning environment for students to conduct in-depth interactions with the elderly. It also offers an authentic learning environment to inspire and facilitate students to utilize their STEAM knowledge and skills to improve the quality of life of the elderly and cultivates students’ social responsibility and enthusiasm in contributing to society.” The Chinese name of Gerontech Park represents a mutual blessing between the young and the elderly: while the young offer solutions to improve the quality of life of the elderly, the elderly share their wisdom with the young. Principal Li stresses that skillfulness is not the ultimate goal of learning: “We hope to ‘make learning visible’ and instill in students qualities that make them shine.”
A living environment simulation area for the elderly
Incorporating an authentic learning environment, Gerontech Park features a living environment simulation area including a living room, a dining room, a kitchen and a washroom, fullyequipped with smart home IoT devices sponsored by Peoples Smart Living Limited. The special learning space allows students to interact with the elderly to understand their daily needs, and work together with the elderly to create smart solutions to improve their quality of life. Installed in Gerontech Park are 5G IoT sensors with four smart home features for the elderly, including an air quality monitor, a faucet shut-off reminder, a sleep tracker and an emergency button in the washroom. The air monitor helps the elderly keep track of changes in the air quality; the faucet shut-off reminders ensure their safety at home by reminding them to turn off the water tap; other than recording users’ heart rate and breathing, the sleep tracker sends real-time health risk data to family members of the elderly; the emergency button is installed in the washroom for the elderly to notify their family members or medical officials in case of crises such as falling on the bathroom floor. Apart from providing a unique learning experience to its students, the school will offer Gerontech Park to the community as a venue for learning days and workshops to reinforce the relationship between school education and the community.
Star Mentors call for support for the mental health of the elderly
Principal Chan Hung, Mr. Chan Cheuk Ming and Mr. Cheung Man Keung – movers and shakers of the education and social welfare sectors – are the Star Mentors of Salesians of Don Bosco Ng Siu Mui Secondary School. Widely known as Ming Gor, Mr. Chan believes that students should strive to understand the needs of the elderly and contribute to society: “Our students have a lot to learn outside of the classroom. For one, they should learn to use their knowledge and skills for the greater good. Many senior citizens suffer from chronic loneliness. I have met a lot of lonely elderly in retirement homes who cannot see their grandchildren regularly. Deprived of love and care, they often do not stop chatting whenever they have visitors. I hope we can utilize our over-one-decade experience to cultivate students’ positivity and motivate the youth to engage in community service and improve the quality of life of the elderly.”
The well-loved Shing Kee Noodles has opened its doors in Sha Tin’s Lek Yuen Estate for 60 years. As the third-generation successor of the restaurant, Mr. Cheung Man Keung – also known as B Gor – named the first Sunday of each month “Elderly Happiness Day” 10 years ago to provide free meals for the elderly. In addition, he leads a team of volunteers to offer free hairdressing and cleaning services to the elderly in the community. B Gor lives in a neighbourhood with a rapidly aging population. Many senior citizens with health issues, such as deteriorating eyesight or hearing, worry about becoming a burden to their families. B Gor hopes to raise the awareness of elderly’s mental health among the young: “I hope students can be more understanding, respectful and accommodating to the elderly. In the process, you may need to learn to manage your emotions. If you are struggling to get along with a stubborn elderly person, feel free to seek help from your teachers or the school principal. It is important to stay humble and know when to ask for help. The elderly need your help in making their lives easier and happier.”
Instilling kindness in children and teaching them to apply what they have learnt
The three Star Mentors all applauded the smart home devices designed by the students of Salesians of Don Bosco Ng Siu Mui Secondary School. Principal Chan Hung said, “During my frequent interactions with the students here, I am often impressed by their communication skills. Today, I am particularly delighted to see how the home technologies developed by these young talents are utilized to lighten the burden of caretakers of the seniors. Thanks to the teachers of Salesians of Don Bosco Ng Siu Mui Secondary School, the students will surely become skillful and responsible caretakers of their grandparents at home and turn their classroom knowledge into practical skills.”
Educators attending the opening ceremony were inspired by the launch of Gerontech Park. Ms Tsui Hei Lai, President of the Kwai Chung District Primary School Heads Association and Principal of E.L.C.H.K. Kwai Shing Lutheran Primary School, believes the launch of Gerontech Park will help to ease the aging problems of Kwai Chung District and help students better understand our senior citizens. Dr. Tang Sui Ying, Principal of S.R.B.C.E.P.S.A. Lu Kwong Fai Memorial School, is most impressed by Salesians of Don Bosco Ng Siu Mui Secondary School’s curriculum and its seamless integration of education and the needs of the elderly in the community. She believes the carefully designed curriculum will nurture students in terms of skills and character building.
Dr. Choi Yuk Lin, JP, Secretary for Education of HKSAR remarks, “The young must equip themselves to embrace the rapid technological development in the 21st century, to seize the opportunities and tackle the challenges. I am delighted to witness the proactive STEAM development in Salesians of Don Bosco Ng Siu Mui Secondary School. On top of its ECO Lab and other facilities, the school has further enhanced its technological and environmental education by launching the Gerontech Park, a specially designed teaching space featuring a living environment simulation area that allows students to utilize their STEAM knowledge and work together with the elderly to create smart solutions to improve their quality of life. I am particularly touched to see that the school has not only upgraded its teaching hardware but has successfully incorporated the cutting-edge education concept with the vision of serving the elderly, nurturing its students in a holistic approach.”
The Chinese logo of Gerontech Park was specially designed by the awardwinning artist Anothermountainman, gracing the pioneering lab with meaningful and warm thoughts. In the logo, each Chinese character uses a different font, and is enclosed by a round and square frame respectively, and attached to each other to emphasize the vision of bringing together the elderly and the young. It truly embodies the innovation, practicality and beauty of the school’s vision.
Principal Li greatly appreciates the Chinese couplet composed by Principal Chan Hung to illustrate the meaning of Gerontech Park. It is so precious and meaningful that Principal Li used the content of the couplet to create a token of appreciation for the officiating guest of the opening ceremony.