The Rationale

If you want to understand the full background leading to the genesis of this new course then you could watch the following video, which was made for an educational conference at M.I.T. University last November, hence why Mr W is sporting a ridiculous Movemeber! However, if you can't be bothered staring at this disturbing moustache for nearly an hour of your life then a simplified account can be found beneath the video.

South Island School Film, Television & Media department has a long history of quality work in Hong Kong dating back 25 years. It was the driving force behind the emergence of the ESF Film Awards and later the Hong Kong Schools Film Awards between 2009 and 2012. More recently the department pioneered a commissioned filmmaking initiative led by students and is also in the process of establishing the school as a hub for training local schools in film and media based work.

Academically, the department has also enjoyed great success both in offering the General Certificate in Secondary Education (GCSE) for Media Studies and also International Baccalaureate (IB) Film and Business Technician Education Council (BTEC) in Film & Television Creative Media Production. However, from 2017 onwards, the current Welsh Joint Educational Committee (WJEC) GCSE in Media Studies will no longer be offered to international centres. This coupled with the increasingly uncertain future of the GCSE and IGCSE qualification in Hong Kong based international schools suggests that now would be an appropriate time to look for alternative pathways by which students can engage with media based education. More specifically, this has an impact on our cohorts studying in Years 10 and 11. (14-16yrs)
An additional problem represented by the current GCSE in Media Studies is the time lapse between the WJEC setting examination-based topics and the sitting of the exam. Topics are set 5 years in advance, leading to students studying for exams in outdated media forms like CD front covers. The current course does not fully engage with the immediacy of modern media forms and subsequently misses the opportunity to discuss topical issues such as the manner in which the Charlie Hebdo story broke via social media or the pervasive and at times insidious nature of 'Native Advertising' forms, to name but two examples.

Whilst the examination itself does contain an audio-visual catalyst, which the Film & Media department at South island School see as a more innovative assessment method than is seen in most subject areas, it is still invariably a system designed to test memory retention rather than media skills. A new course would provide the opportunity to reinvent the ways in which students are assessed with authentic client based relationships at the heart of this process, as well as informed, contemporary exploration of different media forms supported by those working within the industry and flexible enough to grapple with the ever-changing nature of media itself.

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