If you cannot see this message properly, please click here. 2015.02.28

Do you like the 2015-16 Budget?

Dear Members,

First of all, Happy New Year of the Ram. I wish you all good health and a smooth teaching life. After the publication of the last month’s newsletter, I have received many valuable opinions from our members about the issues of the sister schools scheme and exchange tours to mainland China. I am very thankful for that and have written a comprehensive reply for that in this newsletter. Please feel free to continue giving suggestions to my work.

What is your opinion on the Budget that was presented by the government recently? Before the presentation of the Budget, I presented the ‘Prospective of Education Policy for the Budget’(in Chinese), suggesting to the Financial Secretary that the government should reduce the tax and invest in education. In the reduction of tax, it is good that the government has responded positively by reducing salaries tax and increases the basic and additional child allowances using its large amount of surplus.

In the aspect of investing in education, I have made a number of appeals, including there is yet a reasonable amount of subsidisation to whole-day and long whole-day kindergartens, employment problem of young primary and secondary school teachers, the innumerable tuition debts of Associate Degree students, etc. Unfortunately, the Budget has not addressed on any of these problems. It is even more disappointing that the percentage of total public expenditure on education has dropped from its highest at 22.7% to the current 16.7%, which is the lowest in the last 20 years. This has proved that the investment in education from the government is a fake increase.

The Legislative Council will debate on the 2015-16 Budget in the coming month. You are welcome to give further advice on the Budget. Please email [email protected] with your opinion.



1 February, 2015, I announced the ‘Prospective of Education Policy for the Budget’

IP Kin-yuen questioned John TSANG, the Financial Secretary¡]Watch video¡^

Response: Increase exchanges in mainland China Hold fast to Institutional Autonomy
Regulating Self-financed Tertiary Education Curriculum Reform in Chinese History
Other Issues Speeches

Celebrating Year of the Ram

15th February 2015, IP Kin-yuen distributed spring scrolls in the Mongkok and Causeway Bay Centre of the HKPTU.

Sister-schools Scheme and Exchange Tours to China: My Response

Many thanks for the comments received after the publication of last month’s issue of newsletter on the sister-schools scheme and exchange tours to China. Some of them are very detailed, of which I have learned a lot.

Regarding the Chief Executive’s plan to double funding for the exchange tours and sister-schools schemes that are confined to mainland China, there was a diverse opinion from our teachers. Some of them agree, and some others not. But there are something in common which can be summarised as follows:

(1) As long as there are proper arrangements, the opportunity to exchange is good. It can broaden the horizons of teachers and students, knowing more about the history and gain knowledge from different sources. This also suits the positioning of Hong Kong as an international city.

(2) But, there are teachers who worry that, under the current political climate, if there is any improper arrangement, exchanging can be deteriorated to political indoctrination. Special attention is needed to the “middleman” who obtain huge profit from contracting these exchange tours.

(3) Although exchange itself is not bad, there is no reason to restrict the exchange to be conducted only within mainland China. This makes one feel that there are hidden political agenda. To eliminate this feeling of the public, the authorities should open up the scope of location for exchanging, to include places outside mainland China.

(4) One would also pay special attention to the extra workload and pressure on teachers from these exchange activities.

The Legislative Council will definitely discuss this issue again in the future. Your comments and information will be very useful at the time. Once again, I would like to thank you for your comments and please feel free to continue commenting on this issue.

Stand Fast to Institutional Autonomy, and Say NO to Political Influence

There were reports saying that Mr LEUNG Chun-ying, the Chief Executive, Mr CHEUNG Chi-kong, a member of the Executive Council, Ms Sophia KAO Ching-chi, a member of the Central Policy Unit, and some others have pressurised the members of the Council of the University of Hong Kong, urging them to veto the suggestion on the unanimously recommendation from the selection committee to appoint Prof. Johannes CHAN Man-mun as Pro-Vice-Chancellor. If the accusation is true, it would be a serious interference on academic freedom. The education sector would not tolerate such act! For this, I have done three things :

(1) I wrote to Mr Edward CHENG Wai-sun, the Chairman of the University Grants Committee (UGC) to raise questions on the leakage of a recent report on the Research Assessment Exercise 2014, which is a key to the issue.

(2) On 25th February, I raised a written question in the Legislative Council meeting to enquire about the ins and outs of the issue. Unfortunately, the reply from the government has provided no useful information at all!

(3) As a member of the HKU Court, I have met with a few members of the senior management of to enquire into the situation.

This can be a serious issue that hurts institutional autonomy. We must investigate the issue thoroughly to prevent similar issues from happening in Hong Kong again.

13th February 2015. HKPTU demonstrated at the Chief Executive’s Office to urge the government to stand fast for academic freedom and institutional autonomy.



Strengthening Government’s Role in Self-financed Higher Education Sector

The government should play a role in the self-financed higher education sector. The sector needs not only a high level of autonomy, but also effective statutory monitoring on institutional governance and quality assurance. The government should also give support to reduce financial burden of the students. On 7th February 2015, the Panel on Education of the Legislative Council discussed about the matters of the self-financed education sector. Before the start of the meeting, I took the petition from the student groups. For long, I have been urging the government to strength it regulation on the self-financed institutes and review the ‘Post Secondary Colleges Ordinance’. Other than that, in my perspectives on Policy Address and Budget, I have also suggested to the government to utilise this year’s surplus to give a 30,000 dollars special subsidy to every student who enrols in self-financed courses to ease their financial burden. In the long term, the government should increase the number of funded university places, and engage itself in a long term subsidy mode for students of qualified self-financed courses.

7th February 2015, took the petition from the student groups before the start of the Panel on Education meeting.

Written question from IP Kin-yuen and the Reply from the Secretary for Education

Curriculum Reform in Chinese History should be Conducted in an Educational Professional Manner

An Ad Hoc Committee of the Curriculum Development Council is conducting a research on the curriculum reform in Chinese History. The attention on the curriculum of Chinese History from the society is increasing at the same time. Because of that, I issued questionnaires to all the secondary schools in Hong Kong in late January to further investigate the opinion on the curriculum of Chinese History of the schools and frontline teachers. When the authorities review the curriculum of Chinese History, they must be oriented in a professional manner, and not to be interfered by political or other considerations.

2015.02.09
Discussion on Chinese History Education in the Panel on Education of the Legislative Council

Speech¡]Watch video¡^

 

Others Issue

Concern about the Help from the People’s Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison in Training Youths of Uniformed Groups in Hong Kong

Last month, the inauguration ceremony of the newly-formed Hong Kong Army Cadets Association was held in the Ngong Shuen Chau Naval Base of the People’s Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison. The Chief Executive, the director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong and the Garrison Commander of the People’s Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison were the Honourable Patron of the Association. There were also secretaries of the government who are Honorary Advisors of the Association. It makes people to worry about the active involvement in the local affairs of Hong Kong from the People’s Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison. In the council meeting on 4th February, I questioned the government orally for an explanation of the role of the HKSAR government and the People’s Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison in the new unformed group.
Oral Question from IP Kin-yuen and the Reply from the Secretary for Home Affairs

Concern about the Outbreak of Influenza A in Schools

4th February, I questioned Dr KO Wing-man, the Secretary for Food and Health in the Legislative Council meeting to find out if there is any advice from the authorities to the affected schools.
Speech¡]Watch video¡^

Eddie NG Shirked his Responsibility and Talked Black into White

On 10th February, Eddie NG, the Secretary for Education, announced an article with the title ‘Funding for education is blocked: Exactly who moved our “cheese”?’ In his article, Eddie NG shirked the responsibility of blocking education funding to the Legislative Councillors, including myself. I immediately issued a statement in response to his article, stating that his statement is putting the blame on others. Because the government has the absolute power in adjusting the sequencing of the agenda items for the meetings of the Finance Committee, and I have suggested to the government for several times that the committee should deal with educational issues, which are less controversial, before handling the more controversial issues. If the government agreed to adjust the agenda, the related educational items would have been passed much earlier. Yet the government disregarded my suggestion, and repeatedly took away agenda items that are education-related. This is indeed extremely disappointing.

Speeches

Representative of Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union
in Legislative Council,
Hon IP Kin-yuen
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