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The Policy Address: Do you like it?

Dear Members,


(Drawn by the cartoonist Malone. Many thanks to his drawing.)

With the Year of the Monkey approaching, let me wish you good health and auspiciousness!

On the Policy Address recently published by CY Leung, do you have any comments? In my ‘Outlook for Policy Address 2016’ issued earlier, I made a number of proposals on education to the Government. However, the Policy Address eventually published can only be described as superficial and not really striking at the root of problems.

(1) The 15-year free education policy is not in the shape expected of it, especially in respect of the level of financial support for whole-day and long whole-day kindergartens and the salary structure for kindergarten teachers. They are significantly worse than what the early childhood education sector and parents reasonably expect of quality early childhood education.

(2) While the Policy Address proposes increasing the number of regular teaching posts, there is no corresponding provision of additional resources, resulting in a situation in which contract teachers may be exposed to the risk of immediate layoff.

(3) The Policy Address makes a 2-year extension of the ‘3-protection policy’. However, the increase in the number of students moving from primary to secondary education in 2017 and beyond is expected to remain sluggish and it would take an extra few years before the number reverts to a reasonable level. The new measures are, therefore, not strong enough to enable schools to deal with upheavals.

(4) The promotion of ‘One Belt, One Road’, including making a generous injection of one billion dollars to set up scholarships for outsiders, is not an issue keenly felt by our citizens as requiring urgent action. Rather, we now find ourselves in a situation where the government is generous to outsiders but miserly to our own people.

We welcome fellow colleagues’ comments and ideas, which could be emailed to [email protected].

Policy Address 2016

2016-01-21  "Hong Kong Economic Journal" Article- Policy address: A complete letdown for teachers

Announcement of activity:
Ip Kin Yuen will perform impromptu writing of spring festival couplets to be given as gifts from 11 am to 1 pm on Sunday 31 January at HKPTU’s Causeway Bay Service Centre. Fellow colleagues are welcome!



Writing of spring festival couplets last year (Year of the Ram)

Eddie Ng’s performance rating Response to the proposed TSA Pilot Scheme
Objections to Arthur Li’s appointment as Council Chairman Snapshots Speeches

Eddie Ng assigned a zero score by 65% of our teachers

In a questionnaire survey on teachers’ assessment of the performance of Eddie Ng and EDB, HKPTU successfully received 2,192 valid responses. Findings released by HKPTU on 7 January 2016 show that Eddie Ng had an average score of only 0.56 and that as many as 65% of the respondents assigned him a zero score. His rating was even worse among respondents in the tertiary education sector: the percentage of respondents giving him a zero score almost reached 70%. If a score of 3 is the passing mark, as many as 95% of our teachers regard Eddie Ng as failing in his job.

 

Pilot Scheme of TSA: merely a palliative

The Working Group of EDB’s TSA Review Committee has reportedly proposed a pilot scheme for a new model of Primary 3 TSA. Under the pilot scheme, about 10% of our primary schools (i.e. around 50 of them) will be invited to take part in this year’s TSA whereas the remaining 90% of schools will not be required to do so. Even if invited, schools can choose not to accept the invitation. And, even if a school accepts the invitation, individual parents are still at liberty not to let their children take part in TSA. This large-scale suspension of Primary 3 TSA for one year is the result of persistent efforts on the part of the education sector and parents.

The enthusiasm with which the Working Group has responded to public opinion is, in my view, a step in the right direction. What is important, however, is for the Review Committee to identify the reasons why TSA has deteriorated and generated tremendous pressure on students and others and examine the practical meaning of having TSA. The types of questions and examination formats are merely technical details.

I will shortly conduct a questionnaire survey among all primary schools in Hong Kong so as to better understand principals’ views on the Working Group’s proposal. I will also exchange views with parents and parent associations.

 

98% of HKU alumni say ‘No’ to Arthur Li

At an EGM of HKU’s Convocation held last November, a motion against Arthur Li being appointed Council Chairman was overwhelmingly passed with 98% of the vote. However, Chief Executive CY Leung, who is HKU’s Chancellor, still insisted on appointing Arthur Li – who is hostile to HKU and who does not respect institutional autonomy – as HKU’s Council Chairman.

On 26 January, the Council met for the first time under the chairmanship of Arthur Li. Members of HKU Alumni Concern Group and I staged a protest at the meeting venue and urged the Council to establish, soonest possible, a task force to review and reform the Council.

Separately, I will, in my capacity as a Legislative Council Member, put forward a private bill to revise the mechanism whereby the Chief Executive is automatically the Chancellor of universities in Hong Kong.

2016-01-24 RTHK - Letter To Hong Kong

 

Follow-up action: Members of disciplinary forces suspected to be holding dubious academic qualifications

It has earlier on been reported that members of the disciplinary forces, with the assistance of further education institutions in Hong Kong and making use of forged documents, backdated their admission date so as to obtain their degrees from overseas universities within a shorter timeframe. It has also been reported that some members of the police force applied for and obtained tuition allowance. On these, I wrote to Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok on 21 January, asking him whether the authorities would conduct an investigation into the alleged malpractices and what mechanisms are in currently in place in the disciplinary forces to ensure that the academic qualifications of individual officers are genuine and recognized.

 

Hosting a reception for students visiting LegCo

On 6 January, I hosted a reception for a group of secondary school students and briefed them on the operation of the Legislative Council. We had a useful exchange of views on Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014 and filibustering. The students were very enthusiastic in their response.

Visiting Schools for Social Development

On 11 January, I visited two schools for social development in order to better understand the working conditions and needs of our frontline colleagues, including whether there are sufficient social workers in this kind of schools.

Attending a TSA forum

On 12 January, I attended a TSA forum jointly organized by the Hong Kong Paediatric Society and the Hong Kong Paediatric Foundation to brief our friends in the medical field on the current controversy over TSA. I pointed out that excessive drilling has already stifled junior primary students’ interest in learning, which has resulted in a prevalence of students with ‘high scores but low interest’.

Attending a forum on Academic Freedom

On 23 January, I attended a forum named ‘Academic Freedom & Institutional Autonomy’ organized by Project Citizens Foundation and had a discussion about developments of Hong Kong’s academic freedom and institutional autonomy in recent years.

21 Jan 2016

Legislative Council meeting
IP Kin-yuen: Copyright (Amendment) Bill plagued by hidden worries: The Government should not insist on forcing it through

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