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What are the prerequisites for the next Secretary for Education?

Dear Members,

The past four years or so was much wasted in respect of our education policies. A major reason for this was that the Chief Executive did not attach importance to education. Another major reason was that the Secretary for Education did not care much about education. In view of this, I moved, at the Legislative Council meeting on 15 December, a motion to discuss the ‘prerequisites for the next Secretary for Education’. This is a forward-looking issue which I hope the next Chief Executive will carefully consider.

There are at least, in my view, ten challenges which the next Secretary for Education must be capable to deal with:

1. Re-energize the entire education system, including the provision of recurrent financial support and minimization of unnecessary administrative interference.

2. Avoid, whilst nurturing care and concern for our community and country, partial politicization; and attach importance to nurturing comprehensive awareness and independent thinking.

3. Safeguard the tradition of institutional autonomy and academic freedom of higher education institutions and support the development of the institutions.

4. Attach importance to social equity, strengthen the public education system, and enhance the overall strength of schools.

5. Be people-based towards early childhood education and be patient in efforts to change the mindset of those parents who are obsessed with excessive competition.

6. Review curricular structures so as to enable senior secondary students to take up more elective courses and to free primary students of the agony of TSA.

7. Assist students with special needs and disadvantaged students so as to enable them to apply their talents and integrate into society.

8. Have good population planning and effectively help schools to have a stable environment for development so as to enable teachers to, once again, be focused on education and on their physical and mental health.

9. Attach importance to professional training, improve teacher-to-student ratios, and enable teachers to serve more energetically.

10. Ensure the leading position of Hong Kong's education system in the international arena.

Unfortunately, a motion proposed by the Hon CHEUNG Kwok-kwan of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) to amend my original motion was passed with most of the contents of my original motion removed, resulting in a rather flabby version of the motion.

15 Dec 2016  Meeting of  Legislative Council
IP Kin-yuen: Prerequisites for the next Secretary for Education
(Video in English)

I earnestly hope that the Government of the next term will be able to, for the post of Secretary for Education, find someone with integrity, a strong commitment to and a mission for education, willing to heed views, conversant with education policies and not shy of taking up responsibilities, so that education can return to the right track.

I hope that fellow workers will continue to keep track of my work and give me valuable feedback and advice, which could be emailed to [email protected]

A brand new column in PTU News: ‘Campus Appreciation’

Starting from November, the PTU News has introduced a brand new column: ‘Campus Appreciation’, dedicated to the sharing of stories about people and events worthy of recommendation to others. The second article, entitled ‘Ng Yuk Secondary School: A Learning Project: Cycling to a Colourful Life’, introduces Ng Yuk Secondary School’s cycling-round-the-island learning tour in Taiwan, in which education was provided through challenges in life and from which both teachers and students benefitted.

If you have stories about yourself or about others which you would recommend for inclusion in ‘Campus Appreciation’, you are most welcome to call 3468 7222 or email [email protected].

Publishing ‘Preview of Education Policies 2017’ for the Policy Address and the Budget
What reasons are there for resuming Primary 3 TSA? We are opposed to it! Responding to Audit Commission’s report: public money allows no wastage
A brand new column in PTU News: ‘Campus Appreciation’ Snapshots Speeches

Publishing ‘Preview of Education Policies 2017’ for the Policy Address and the Budget

The new Policy Address is scheduled to be published next January. In anticipation of this, I published on 6 December a ‘Preview of Education Policies 2017’ for the Policy Address and the Budget headed ‘Attaching importance to opinions of the public, Respecting professionalism, Promoting people-based care and Developing one’s talents’. In the Preview, I drew particular attention to the chronic problem of inadequate recurrent allocations faced by the education sector, resulting in a significantly low level of investment in education.

I have submitted 20 major proposals. They include increasing teacher-to-class ratios, improving the establishment of teachers, abolishing Primary 3 TSA, and establishing a salary scale for kindergarten teachers, so as to solve problems faced by the education sector which have accumulated over the years.

I submitted the above proposals directly to the Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie LAM CHENG Yuet-ngor at a meeting with her on 8 December and urged the Government to face the problems squarely.

What reasons are there for resuming Primary 3 TSA? We are opposed to it!

12 Dec 2016 Meeting of Panel on Education in Legislative Council
IP Kin-yuen:Over ten thousand citizens objecting the revised TSA
(Video in English)

The TSA Review Committee recommends a comprehensive resumption of the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) next year, arguing that incentives for drills have been eliminated and that feedback from various sources has been positive.

We do not agree. Earlier on, HKPTU conducted a questionnaire survey among the panel heads of Chinese Language, English Language and Mathematics of all primary schools in Hong Kong and received more than 100 responses within a few days. The results of the survey show that as many as 85% of the respondents were not in favour of EDB going for a comprehensive resumption of Primary 3 TSA in the next academic year, for fear that the resumption, if it were to go ahead, would significantly increase the pressure for drills. This shows that TSA Review Committee’s assessments were over-optimistic and completely divorced from reality!

At a meeting of LegCo’s Panel on Education on 12 December, I moved a motion urging the authorities not to accept the recommendation for a comprehensive resumption of Primary 3 TSA next year. The motion was unanimously passed. Even though the motion is non-binding on the authorities, the public’s opinion is very clear. The authorities must handle the issue with caution.

Responding to Audit Commission’s report: public money allows no wastage

In its report published on 23 November, the Audit Commission levelled severe criticism at the governance, management, administration and financial control of the University Grants Committee (UGC), the Research Grants Council (RGC) and the Education Bureau (EDB). Even more serious are, in my view, problems relating to RGC’s mechanism for members to declare their interests and the formulation and keeping of meeting records; and EDB’s procedures for the allocation of land to self-financed institutions. The situations of these cases are shockingly confusing and unacceptable.

Some of the problems discovered by the Audit Commission have indeed been in existence for quite a long time, such as the inadequacies of dormitory facilities and teaching space, unbalanced sources of non-local students, and failure to achieve true internationalization of our universities. Both the education sector and the Legislative Council have all along been asking the Government to review and handle these problems. I will, therefor, continue to urge the authorities to review relevant policies.

Following up the future development of CCCU

On 29 November, I had a meeting with representatives of the City University of Hong Kong and discussed the latest developments of issues relating to the alliance between the Community College of CityU (CCCU) and Australia’s University of Wollongong.

Exchanging views with the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong on STEM

On 2 December, I made arrangements for members of LegCo’s Panel on Education to have a meeting with the President of the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong, Prof TSUI Lap-chee, Prof Henry N.C. WONG and other representatives of the Academy. We had an exchange of views on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

Opposing a “coup” staged by LEUNG Chun-ying

On 2 December, the Government filed a lawsuit with the High Court seeking the disqualification of four Legislative Councillors: Dr the Hon LAU Siu-lai, the Hon LEUNG Kwok-hung, the Hon Nathan LAW Kwun-chung and Dr the Hon YIU Chung-yim. On that evening, democratic Legislative Councillors took part in a protest parade ending at the Chief Executive’s Office to express our objection to LEUNG staging a “coup”.

Concerned over students committing suicide

On 11 December, the polling day of elections to the Chief Executive Election Committee, I and representatives of other professional sectors actively went out to canvass for votes. Eventually, members of HKPTU’s 30-strong team were all elected. Pro-democracy camp also won more than 300 seats! We will certainly do our best to live up to your expectation, defend education professionalism and strive for universal suffrage!

8 Dec 2016
Meeting of Legislative Council
IP Kin-yuen: Updating the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines

14 Dec 2016
Meeting of Legislative Council
IP Kin-yuen:Financial burden on self-financing programmes' students

Representative of Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union
in Legislative Council,
Hon IP Kin-yuen
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‧For enquiry and feedback, please email to Office of Legislative Councillor IP Kin-yuen : [email protected]
葉建源議員辦事處 Office of Legislative Councillor Ip Kin Yuen (Education Constituency)
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