Hong Kong's first master's degree in parent education and family support will be launched in September.
Dr Lee Man Yuk-ching, who is co-ordinating the programme at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, believes the city lacks a course which focuses on the collaboration between parent education and school education.
"It aims to educate students to understand how school and family can help children learn and grow. It caters to educators and professionals in family education, but parents are more than welcome to join," she says.
The course takes an in-depth look at situations faced by teachers and parents to give each an understanding of the other.
Special needs education is also a key component. Students will be taught how to make use of resources and how to assist families with children requiring special education. These children may be suffering from autism, and reading and writing disorders. They will also look into issues such as single-parent families and cross-border schoolchildren.
The course is taught mostly through lectures, with occasional visits to family centres and institutes. Assessment is done by examinations, essays and research projects.
Lee says: "Parent education covers theory, practice and a research course, which requires students to deliver the programmes they have learned in class to a group of parents. Then they have to do research on the effectiveness of the lecture they give to parents."
Applicants should hold a recognised bachelor's degree, preferably in social work or a counselling-related discipline. The course has a quota of 20 to 25 students.
Shortlisted applicants may be required to attend an interview or sit for an English test.
To cater to students who are working, classes will usually take place on Saturday afternoons or weekday evenings.