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Policy Address 2018 Publication of Education Policy Preview

Dear Members,

The new Policy Address will be announced next month. As before, I have compiled an ‘Education Policy Preview’ setting out the education policies which I advocate and have submitted it in person to the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie LAM, before she is to announce her Policy Address.

Education is the foundation of a society’s development. Upon taking office, Mrs LAM proposed increasing the Government’s recurrent expenditure on education by $3.6 billion, a clear reflection of the importance the new-term Government attaches to education. This is a really splendid thing. As education is, however, a hundred-year plan and not something which can be done overnight, we should draw lessons from the positive and negative experiences of education reforms in the past, clearly set our goals, cautiously plan our strategies, and steadfastly keep pressing ahead.

In line with the practice over the years with ‘Education Policy Previews’, what has been compiled is a brand new volume in which I focus my sights on the remaining four years of the current-term Government’s tenure, and which covers four major parts: the vision of policy implementation, strategies for implementation, major policy recommendations, and other policy recommendations. It also reviews the successes and failures of the implementation of education policies by the new-term Government during its first year in office.

Education is an on-going process requiring perseverance and wise management of resources. It would be prudent for the Government to cautiously formulate its education policies and appropriately use resources so as to do things right and do things well in its efforts to improve our education. We also hope to get more views from the education sector. Follow workers are most welcome to let us have their opinions, which could be emailed to [email protected] We will reply as soon as possible.


Policy Address 2018
Publication of Education Policy Preview

Facts and views relating to non-JUPAS admissions HKPTU Survey: Almost 30% of our teachers have moderately severe symptoms of depression; strengthening of teaching support badly needed
Joint efforts by the Hong Kong Medical Association and the education sector to increase the vaccination rate of school children Snapshots  

Facts and views relating to non-JUPAS admissions

The Joint University Programmes Admissions System (JUPAS) has all along been the major channel through which local students get admitted into universities in Hong Kong based on their examination results in the Hong Kong Diploma of Education (HKDSE). In recent years, there has been an increasing number of local students choosing to follow more expensive non-local-curriculum programmes, sit international examinations and – via the non-JUPAS route – apply for admission into universities in Hong Kong and select subjects which are popular and which require higher examination scores.

We notice that it is less demanding and is easier to obtain high scores in non-local-curriculum examinations than in the HKDSE. Compared with the percentage of Hong Kong students achieving the top grade in the HKDSE, the percentage of Hong Kong students achieving the top grade in a certain non-local-curriculum examination is more than 18.5 times higher! As post-secondary institutions do not have a clear and transparent conversion system between the scores of different examinations, we are worried that the current practice runs counter to the spirit and principle of ‘admissions based on performance’ and brings about serious social injustice. Not only does this impact Hong Kong’s public examination and admission system, it may even beget social unrest.

As there is no transparent conversion system between scores obtained in the HKDSE and those obtained in overseas examinations, I would propose (a) enhancing the transparency of non-JUPAS admissions by post-secondary institutions; (b) announcing, on a programme basis, the proportion of JUPAS admissions and non-JUPAS admissions as well as the range of scores of non-JUPAS students; and (c) considering making reference to the tariff points conversion mechanism established by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) of the UK so as to – in a fair and equitable manner – deal with the problem of JUPAS and non-JUPAS admissions.

Apart from factors such as interview performance, non-academic achievements and other learning experiences of individual candidates, post-secondary institutions and those responsible for admissions should, when considering admission applications, treat individual examinations equally. For example, an admission range of the top 10% of HKDSE students should similarly apply to the top 10% of non-local-curriculum examination students. Only in this way can the admissions be fair and equitable under the principle of ‘admissions based on performance’.

HKPTU Survey: Almost 30% of our teachers have moderately severe symptoms of depression; strengthening of teaching support badly needed

A survey conducted earlier on front-line teachers by the HKPTU and the Division of Clinical Psychology of the Hong Kong Psychological Association reveals that nearly 30% of our teachers have moderately severe – or even worse – depression symptoms. The survey also shows that as many as 70% of the teachers work for more than 50 hours a week and that when the weekly working time reaches 55 hours or more, teachers’ depression becomes even more pronounced.

More than 80% of the respondents indicate that they feel quite stressed or extremely stressed. Most people think that teaching work constitutes fairly great or extremely great work stress (64.9%). The second major source of stress is the way in which schools monitor and follow-up on teachers’ performance (56.6%). In addition, 52.8% and 52.5% of the respondents feel that administration work and the need to handle students with special educational needs (SEN) respectively constitute fairly large or extremely large stress.

We propose increasing the teacher-to-class ratio as soon as possible. Schools should also add manpower to specifically handle non-teaching work so as to enable teachers to have sufficient time to care for students. In addition, the identification of SEN students should be expedited and extra manpower support should be flexibly provided.

Joint efforts by the Hong Kong Medical Association and the education sector to increase the vaccination rate of school children

For the new school year, the Department of Health launched the ‘School Outreach Vaccination Pilot Programme’, under which flu shots are provided free of charge in schools for children. The Food and Health Bureau recently indicates, however, that only 180 schools have been matched and that is has not been possible to send doctors to the remaining 120 schools.

Earlier on, together with the Hon KWOK Ka-ki, Dr HO Chung-ping (Chairman of the Hong Kong Medical Association) and Dr CHAN Nim-tak (Council Member of the Hong Kong Medical Association), I had a meeting with acting Secretary for Food and Health CHUI Tak-yi. We proposed setting up a platform and a matching mechanism under which doctors would be dispatched to schools not originally matched and provide vaccination service, so as to bring the existing coverage of around 20% to 40% or 50%. At the meeting, we were pleased to see the Bureau responding positively and accepting our proposal.

During the summer vacation, we contacted quite a number of schools and succeeded in facilitating some of them joining the matching mechanism for the vaccination programme. I hope that the Government will learn from this experience so that it will, when increasing service to schools in the future, launch the entire vaccination programme well in advance so as to enable schools to fit this in when planning their school calendars.

Hong Kong Museum of History: Guided tours specifically arranged for HKPTU members

We are most grateful to the Hong Kong Museum of History for organizing two guided tours specifically for members of the HKPTU to the exhibition entitled ‘An Age of Luxury: the Assyrians to Alexander’.

The tours gave us valuable opportunities to appreciate more than 210 sets of treasures from the British Museum, including metal objects, stone reliefs, ivory items, gems and jewels revealing the luxury of ancient Middle Eastern civilization.

Reception for US Congressmen

On 29 August, the Legislative Council hosted a reception for a very important four-member delegation from the US Congress, all of them being members of the pivotal Financial Services Committee of the US House of Representatives.

At the meeting, one of the topics discussed was the current China-US trade war and the unique position of Hong Kong under ‘One Country, Two Systems’. I believe that maintaining Hong Kong as a free and open city is in line with the interests of all parties – including the United States and the Mainland of China – and is where Hong Kong people’s core value lies. I hope that Hong Kong will continue to strengthen its links in different aspects with various parts of the world in the future.


Giving an interview to Councillors from the Children’s Council

The Children's Council is an organisation sponsored by the Government. Through the collection of views and opinions relating to children’s rights, Child Councillors bring children’s voice to the Children’s Council.

On 24 August, Child Councillors came and asked for my views on the pressure faced by school children. They asked about the relationship between the education system and pressure on students, students’ ability to resist pressure, the problem of students committing suicide, small class teaching, career planning, etc. I sincerely hope that they will be able to collect useful views from various quarters so that they can enable the Government to appreciate, from children’s perspective, the real problem of pressure and to improve policy implementation.

An extraordinary ‘Graduation Ceremony’

On 18 August, I took part in an extraordinary ‘graduation ceremony’ organised by the Junior Chamber International Hong Kong (JCI Hong Kong). The name of the ceremony was also remarkable: ‘Dragon Apprentice 2018’.

The so-called ‘graduation’ was actually an arrangement whereby students from a number of secondary schools were, before they could graduate, required to – following visits and internships – organise themselves into groups each equipped with an innovative business plan. On the graduation day, students had to answer, right on the spot, queries from a judging panel comprising four persons from the business sector on topics ranging from product design and cost calculation to actual marketing. I trust that students learn a lot from this kind of informal education.


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

HON IP KIN YUEN Newsletter:

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葉建源議員辦事處 Office of Legislative Councillor Ip Kin Yuen (Education Constituency)
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