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The Budget: Is the Government Committed to Education?

Dear Members,


On the newly published Budget, do you have any comments? Earlier on, in my ‘Outlook for Budget 2016 relating to Education’, I talked about my expectations and suggestions.

Apart from accepting some of my suggestions on taxation, including enhancing salaries tax allowance and dependent parent allowance, the Budget does not, unfortunately, propose any new items for appropriation under education, appropriation being simply based on existing and established policies on education. Moreover, expenditure on education as a percentage of government’s total recurrent expenditure dropped from 24.5% to 21.5% in the past twelve years. This 3% decline, approximately equivalent to $10.5 billion, is sufficient to cover those education items which are badly in need of financial support and for which we have been fighting all along, such as converting contract teaching posts in primary and secondary schools to regular teaching posts, adding 10,000 subsidized university places, ensuring that teachers on the establishment are not laid off due to class reduction, and paying for kindergarten voucher expenses for one year.

In the coming month, the Legislative Council will have a debate on the Budget. I sincerely welcome fellow workers’ comments and ideas, which could be emailed to [email protected].

2016-02-29
Finance Committee Meeting
IP Kin-yuen : Education sector receive nothing again from the Budget

Calling for the withdrawal of the decision to resume Primary 3 TSA in 2017 Condemning violence and calling for an investigation into the causes of conflict
Seeking clarification as to whether Arthur Li’s ludicrous remarks represent the stance of HKU’s Council Snapshots Speeches

Calling for the withdrawal of the decision to resume Primary 3 TSA in 2017

When publishing the preliminary recommendations of a committee on TSA review, and whilst the effectiveness of the preliminary recommendations remains to be seen, the Education Bureau flagrantly announced its decision to fully resume Primary 3 TSA in 2017. This is unacceptable. HKPTU and I called on the Education Bureau to withdraw this decision and to conduct a comprehensive review without any pre-conceived ideas, so that the education sector can have comprehensive and in-depth discussions of various issues, including TSA’s retention or abolition, its optimization and implementation. This approach will help to break the current impasse.

 

Condemning violence and calling for an investigation into the causes of conflict

HKPTU and I condemn all acts of violence in the conflict which took place on the early morning of Day 2 of the Chinese New Year in Mongkok. Violence cannot solve problems; what it brings is nothing but greater damage to our society.

The government should, I believe, carefully investigate and review the incident, solemnly identify and face the causes of the conflict and rebuild citizens’ confidence in Hong Kong. Only then can we get to the root of the problem, repair our strife-torn society and prevent the incident from happening again.

Together with other pan-democratic Legislative Council Members, I called for the establishment of an independent committee to look into the Mongkok conflict. Evading the problem, however, CY Leung rejected our call. Pan-democratic Legislative Council Members will consider invoking the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance in the Legislative Council or filing a petition to the Court.

 

Seeking clarification as to whether Arthur Li’s ludicrous remarks represent the stance of HKU’s Council

At a press conference held by Council Chairman Arthur Li and President Peter Mathieson on 28 January, Arthur Li fired a barrage of appalling remarks on the conflict which took place at the end of the Council meeting on 26 January, such remarks being extremely shocking to many of HKU’s staff, students and alumni as well as our citizens. On this, I issued an open letter to HKU’s Council, calling for clarification as to whether Arthur Li’s remarks represented the stance of the Council or were simply his own personal views.

In a separate development, full-time staff of eight UGC-funded institutions can take part in the ‘Referendum on Institutional Autonomy’ initiated by their staff unions and jointly organized by HKPTU, HKU Alumni Concern Group and Scholars’ Alliance for Academic Freedom in mid-March to express their views on two motions. Fellow workers are urged to actively participate in the Referendum.

 

English version of ‘A Journey to Vocational Education in Germany and Switzerland’ now published

In September 2015, I led a delegation of Members of Legislative Council’s Panel on Education to Germany and Switzerland. We had meetings with government officials and representatives of chambers of commerce to gain an in-depth understanding of the complementary roles played by the government and chambers of commerce in the provision of vocational education. To share my findings with you, I have now published the English version of ‘A Journey to Vocational Education in Germany and Switzerland’. I hope you will enjoy reading it. Printed copies are available from us on a first-come-first-served basis.

 PDF Version

 

Meeting with the President of HKIEd

Now that the Executive Council has formally approved HKIEd’s application for the award of a university title, for HKIEd to be formally called a university is only one step away: making relevant legislative amendments. I arranged for several pan-democratic Legislative Council Members to have a meeting on 29 January with HKIEd’s President, Professor Stephen Cheung Yan-leung, teaching staff and student representatives. We listened to their opinions and would work hard to ensure that HKIEd will be awarded the status of a university.

Press Conference: Teachers being asked to refund acting allowances

Earlier on, HKPTU and I received almost 20 requests from aided secondary schools and their teachers. They sought our help, saying that teachers concerned have, all of a sudden, been asked to pay back acting allowances allocated to them more than a decade ago when they were acting in a more senior post, the reason being that the allowances should not, as revealed in a recent checking, have been allocated. This is a serious maladministration on the part of the Education Bureau. On 31 January, HKPTU and I held a press conference and called on the Education Bureau to appropriately settle the matter. In a separate development, HKPTU has written to the Office of the Ombudsman requesting an investigation into the matter. I am closely following up on this issue.

Giving out Spring Scrolls in the Year of the Monkey

Writing spring scrolls as gifts for fellow workers in HKPTU’s Causeway Bay Service Centre on 31 January to wish everyone good health and auspiciousness.

Inspecting Kowloon Tsai Park and the Hong Kong Stadium

Together with other members of Legislative Council’s Panel on Home Affairs, I visited Kowloon Tsai Park and the Hong Kong Stadium on 15 February to inspect the quality of their grass courts so as to gain a better understanding of the turf maintenance work there.

1 Feb 2016

Panel on Education Meeting
Issues related to the Block Insurance Policy taken out by the Government for aided schools

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