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2019.04.30

 

School-based Management and

Legislation on Extradition of Fugitive Offenders

Dear Members,

There are several issues to which I would like to invite your attention.

School-based management cases

In education, everyone is concerned about abuses of ‘school-based management’. Let it be clear that principals and teachers are predominantly zealous and dedicated to their duties, but the system has indeed been abused, resulting in an increasing trend of serious cases. Our attitude is that we affirm the efforts of a large majority of educators and we ask the Government to squarely deal with serious cases and make improvements to the system.

In the past year, I have dealt with several serious complaint cases, including the widely reported case involving Baptist (Sha Tin Wai) Lui Ming Choi Primary School. A number of irregularities of the school have been exposed: failure to invite tenders for its study tours to Australia over the years, keeping money received for tours in a private bank account and in a safe in the headmaster’s room, forcing teachers to sign receipts and promoting teachers not in accordance with regulations. The Education Bureau issued a ‘warning letter’ to the school at the end of January this year. Notwithstanding this, the Incorporated Management Committee (IMC) of the school made even more repugnant irregularities: asking those IMC members who were not from the school sponsoring body to absent themselves when important issues were discussed and requiring all IMC members to sign a confidentiality agreement with a warning that those who breach it would have to bear legal responsibilities. These acts tend to suggest that the school has something to hide from its stakeholders. Furthermore, the summary of an investigation report prepared by an ‘independent investigation team’ established by the IMC is hardly convincing and smacks of covering up shortcomings. In view of all these, it falls squarely on the Education Bureau to conduct afresh an investigation into the situation of the school and more importantly, introduce improvements to the system of school-based management.

Legislation on the Extradition of Fugitive Offenders

Last February, there was a murder case in Taipei involving a Hong Kong person. The suspect was arrested after returning to Hong Kong. Since there is no extradition agreement between Hong Kong and Taiwan, the suspect has not been transferred to Taiwan to stand trial. We believe that for the sake of seeking justice for the deceased, the case merits special treatment, which is well within the powers of the Government. However, the Hong Kong authorities have not, according to Taiwan, actively followed up on the case.

While there have hardly been any prior consultations, the SAR Government makes use of the case as a pretext to propose amendments to legislation on extradition (the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance), ostensibly to plug the so-called ‘legal loophole’. If the amendments are enacted, the door will be flung wide open for the extradition of suspects between the mainland and Hong Kong, a situation in which Hong Kong residents and visitors to Hong Kong can be extradited, at any time, to the mainland to stand trial, seriously threatening the personal safety of Hong Kong citizens! The business community is also very worried. The SAR Government has eventually removed some of the provisions in the amendment Bill, in an attempt to allay their worries. However, our friends in the business community remain very concerned, not to mention the general public who are not given any protection.

If the amendment proposed by the Government is passed, it will open a big gap in the boundary between the two systems, which is unacceptable because Hong Kong citizens will become exposed to the risk of having to stand trial under the mainland’s legal system. We would call on the Government to rein back the horse right before the brink of the precipice and withdraw the amendment Bill. We also hope that members will pay close attention to this issue and be ready to respond to PTU’s call for action!

In sentencing hearing on 24 April of the ‘Occupy Central’ case, four society leaders who advocated peace and non-violence were sentenced to jail. Grief-stricken we are at this moment, but we will not give up. Please join us in our continued efforts to strive for the freedom of Hong Kong!

If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail to [email protected] .

School-based Management and Legislation on Extradition of Fugitive Offenders
Salary increase recommended for Headmasters and Deputy Headmasters of primary schools We welcome the move to peg all teaching posts at the GM/APSM level
The Government allocating $1 billion for school premises improvement works Snapshots Speeches

Salary increase recommended for Headmasters and Deputy Headmasters of primary schools


On March 26, the Task Force on Professional Development of Teachers submitted a report to the Education Bureau, recommending a substantial salary increase for Headmasters and Deputy Headmasters of primary schools. The maximum salary for a primary school Headmaster is recommended to go up from $93,000 to around $120,000. The Report also recommends that the threshold for the rank of Principal I of a secondary school be lowered from 24 classes or more to 18 classes or more.

I welcome the above recommendations. There has all along been inadequate middle management staff in primary schools, a problem which will become more prominent when all teaching posts are pegged at the GM/APSM level. The Report now recommends an increase of four Senior Teachers for primary schools with 18 classes and five Senior Teachers for those with 24 classes. While there is still a certain gap between the proportion of Senior Teachers in primary schools and that in secondary schools, the recommendation will be able to alleviate the problem of inadequate staff resources in primary schools.

With the increase in middle management staff, the Education Bureau should also adjust the ranking and establishment structure for Headmasters or Deputy Headmasters in primary schools so as to properly sort out any overlapping of salary structures. Separately, the report has obvious deficiencies, one of which is its failure to bring improvements to small primary schools (that is, those with 11 classes or fewer). For example, the Headmaster of a small primary school is treated simply as being equivalent to the Deputy Headmaster of a big primary school, and a small primary school is deprived of a Deputy Headmaster post. Such a situation is most regrettable. As regards implementation details, the Task Force recommends increasing the salary of the Headmaster of primary schools and special schools and sorting out any overlapping of salary structures. Whilst advising the authorities to accept the Task Force’s Report, I would call on the authorities to, soonest possible, clarify and announce relevant details and ways of calculation.

In any case, I hope that the Legislative Council will, soonest possible, approve relevant appropriations so that recommendations in the Task Force’s Report could be implemented before September of the 2019/20 school year.

We welcome the move to peg all teaching posts at the GM/APSM level

Over the years, we have been striving for all the teaching posts to be pegged at the GM/APSM level. This long-standing aspiration of the PTU and of the education sector was eventually responded to in last year’s Policy Address and implementation details were announced last month in a school circular issued by the Education Bureau.

This policy – which pegs all teaching posts in primary and secondary schools at the GM/APSM level – is an important step towards teaching professionalism. It rectifies the anomality of teachers having a degree being stuck in posts junior to those created for degree-holders. This policy also makes it possible for teachers having the same qualification and work experience to be given equal pay for equal work, which is a development that we welcome.

In the process of pegging all teaching posts in primary schools at the APSM level, we would like to stress the importance of simultaneously increasing middle management posts. Otherwise, confusion over administration will ensue. We are also concerned that teachers in secondary schools occupying Senior Assistant Master/Mistress (SAM) posts – who belong to middle to senior management level – cannot directly take up Senior Graduate Master/Mistress (SGM) posts. Furthermore, the requirement that secondary school teachers moving from a non-graduate stream to a graduate stream must remain for five years in a degree-holder post before he/she is considered for promotion.

In addition, the ‘Code of Aid’ stipulates that if teachers holding a Certificate for Secondary School Teaching issued by an ex-College of Education would like to teach in a primary school, they must first take up a Certificated Master/Mistress (CM) post before they can be transferred to an Assistant Primary School Master/Mistress (APSM) post. When all the teaching posts are pegged at the GM/APSM level, teachers with a Certificate for Secondary School Teaching issued by an ex-College of Education will not be able to teach in a primary school. On the contrary, holders of a Certificate for Primary School Teaching issued by an ex-College of Education are not subject to such a restriction if they would like to teach in a secondary school. All these arrangements are unreasonable. We hope that the authorities will centrally relax these restrictions.

In addition, there is a large number of contract teachers, who are outside the establishment. We hope that teachers on contract terms will be treated in a way close to the treatment given to GM/APSM teachers and that more teachers will be engaged within the establishment so as to continuously improve the teaching and learning environment in schools.

The Government allocating $1 billion for school premises improvement works

Among our ordinary public schools, of which there are currently about 850, only some 200 have been built according to modern standards. Many schools are still plagued by the problem of their premises being small and some of them are even deprived of basic facilities such as an auditorium, a music room and a library. Since 2016, I have been visiting schools with sub-standard facilities in various districts and asking, in the Legislative Council, the Government to effectively upgrade school facilities to meet modern standards, including restarting a new phrase of school-based school improvement projects and expediting the redevelopment or relocation of school premises and revising the allocation of school premises for various uses.

The Education Bureau has eventually responded, pledging recently to set aside $1 billion to – having regard to the situations of school premises and school-based needs – carry out small-scale internal modifications to schools with sub-standard facilities. Schools concerned have recently received invitations from EDB to submit, this year and next year, applications for improvement works such as ‘conversions and alterations of internal partitions/spaces’. We are pleased with this achievement and will continue to urge the Government to expedite improvement works for schools with sub-standard premises.

Attending ‘Seminar on Survey Report on the Work of Teacher-Librarians and Direction of Development’

As invited, I attended the “Seminar on Survey Report on the Work of Teacher-Librarians and Direction of Development” on 13 April. At the Seminar, the Hong Kong Teacher-Librarians’ Association pointed out that the survey report shows that more than 20% of the teacher-librarians have to take up 15 or more sessions per week teaching other subjects. While shouldering a heavy workload, teacher-librarians lack support and yet many of them have to take up the task of subject head-teachers, executive head-teachers and even class-teachers.

The objective of the Government creating teacher-librarian posts is to enable teacher-librarians to focus on the promotion of reading in schools. As there exists a gap between the policy objective and the actual outcome, the Education Bureau has the responsibility to re-examine the issue. The sharing of good practice among different schools helps to improve and enhance the quality of reading in schools. I look forward to the time when teacher-librarians will – with the close co-ordination of policies, manpower and resources – be able to fully play their role as teacher-librarians and the policy on reading will successfully come to fruition.

Conducting a guided tour to LegCo for students from Tai Po Old Market Public School

A group of Primary 6 students from the Tai Po Old Market Public School visited the Legislative Council earlier on. They all actively expressed their concern on education issues.

One of the students suggested that the Education Bureau should advance the announcement of the results of allocation of Secondary 1 places under the Secondary School Places Allocation System so that they and their junior schoolmates could make informed choices between Government schools and aided schools on the one hand and schools under Direct Subsidy Scheme on the other hand. Some students asked for my views on teaching Chinese in Putonghua. Some suggested that schools should let them have more self-study time in schools so that they could, with the help of teachers and other students, complete their assignments in school. I undertook to reflect their views on education to the authorities in a subsequent Legislative Council meeting.

 

Meeting with a delegation from the Belgian Federal Parliament’s Belgium-China Friendship Group

Legislative Council’s Parliamentary Liaison Subcommittee had a meeting with a 3-member cross-party delegation from the Belgium-China Friendship Group of the Belgian Federal Parliament led by Ms An Capoen of the New Flemish Alliance. They were received by eight Legislative Council Members from various political parties.

During the meeting, we briefed the delegation on the powers and characteristics of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, the medical system in Hong Kong and that on the mainland, and conveyed our views on the implementation of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ and the integration between Hong Kong and the mainland. The Belgian parliamentarians provided us with a brief introduction to the complex political system of their country. It is hoped that through this meeting, both sides can have a better understanding of each other’s political system.

Reading coming to fruition

A core network formed by the teacher-librarians of the Anglican (Hong Kong) Primary Schools Council and its 10 primary schools has launched a ‘Digital Reading Diary’ Programme. Making use of apps the core network has developed, coupled with multimedia materials, the Programme provides an interactive platform featuring students’ reading records, story-telling activities, mini movies and what they have learned in their studies. As the interactive platform will be shared with 50 other schools, reading will be given even more diversity and vitality.

I would like to thank the Anglican (Hong Kong) Primary Schools Council for inviting me to participate in the ‘Digital Reading Diary’ Programme launching ceremony. I would also like to thank the teachers and students of the schools for setting up the booths, which were thoughtfully designed with unique characteristics and which opened my eyes to AR and VR reading. I wish everyone ‘the more you read, the more you enjoy’.

 

12 April 2019: Special meeting of the Finance Committee
Expressing concern over the continued decline in the proportion of substantially appointed staff in the eight universities

12 April 2019: Special meeting of the Finance Committee
Monitoring schools’ management: EDB should nip problems in the bud

1April 2019: Bills Committee on National Anthem Bill
Expressing concern over the wording and provisions of a guiding nature in the National Anthem Bill

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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