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2019.08.30

 

Chief Executive’s apology lacks sincerity

Early response to people’s aspirations urged

Dear Members,

In this month, Hong Kong had two super large-scale public processions:the one on 9 June had 1.03 million participants. The number rocketed to 2 million on 16 June, breaking Hong Kong’s records and shocking the whole world!

Nevertheless, while Chief Executive Carrie LAM offered her apology to all citizens of Hong Kong, she did not, in substance, respond to the five demands of the people: completely withdrawing the proposed amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, rejecting ‘riot’ as the category for the clash on 16 June, releasing those arrested, conducing a thorough investigation into the abuse of power by police officers and indicating whether the Chief Executive and her team will take responsibility and step down.

The apology she has made is patently devoid of sincerity, shows no indication of deep reflection and utterly fails to address people’s aspirations. It is indeed outrageous!

Amid the Government's failure to respond in substance to people’s aspirations and the call of some members of the public for an escalation of actions, HKPTU and I call on the Government to address people’s demands soonest possible. We all urge parties concerned to exercise restraint and ensure safety. My views, as expressed on 20 June, are as follows:

1. The minimal concessions made by Chief Executive Carrie LAM and Secretary for Security John LEE in response to the five demands of the people can hardly calm down people’s fury. We would call on the Government to seriously face up to the solemn demands of 2 million people and make a concrete commitment soonest possible so as to avoid arousing greater dissatisfaction among the people.

2. If the escalated actions – which student groups and netizens have warned to take unless their demands are met by the Government before their deadline – materialize, we would urge the police to exercise restraint and to refrain absolutely from abusing police power so as to avoid disappointing the community again.

3. We also hope that citizens, while striving for what they want, will do so in a peaceful manner and refrain from any drastic actions so as to avoid bleeding, avoid sacrificing and avoid being arrested.

4. As the concrete details of the escalation of actions scheduled for 21 June are not yet clear, we would urge all participants to ensure personal safety and point out that it is absolutely inappropriate for adolescent secondary school students to go to any place where clashes may occur. We also earnestly request teachers to convey this message to their students.

With the impasse right before us, if you have any opinions, you are most welcome to send them to [email protected] . Let us work together to protect Hong Kong!

Chief Executive’s apology lacks sincerity Early response to people’s aspirations urged
Querying EDB’s action to collect information on absences Rationalizing the salary structures of headmasters and deputy headmasters of public primary schools
Primary 3 TSA survey by HKPTU: pressure on drills still felt by almost 80% of teachers Snapshots Speeches

Querying EDB’s action to collect information on absences

In his letter dated 13 June, Secretary for Education YEUNG Yun-hung raised objection to educational bodies launching students boycotting classes and teachers refusing to teach and pointed out that absences of individual teachers without school’s approval should be dealt with. It goes without saying that teachers are faithful to their work. Why did EDB see the need to stress the application of relevant regulations? Many of our fellow workers were upset by the letter, which was perceived to be exerting pressure on them instead of supporting or respecting their views.

I also query the purpose of collecting such information and I am opposed to taking such an action as a monitoring measure. EDB should clearly state the purpose of the letter. We condemn the letter and strongly demand that EDB:

1. immediately withdraw its letter dated 13 June to all school supervisors/principals in Hong Kong

2. stop using administrative means to put pressure on teachers because of their social participation

3. apologize to Hong Kong’s education sector for this incident.

Rationalizing the salary structures of headmasters and deputy headmasters of public primary schools

A document entitled ‘Rationalizing the salary structures of headmasters and deputy headmasters of public primary schools and improving middle level staff resources in public primary schools’ was passed by the Establishment Subcommittee on 11 June with 12 votes in favour, no objections and 4 abstentions. The next and final step is for the document to get through LegCo’s Finance Committee.

As Establishment Subcommittee Chairwoman Regina IP LAU Suk-yee requested that the document be voted on separately at the Finance Committee, it will not be voted on right away. Members of the Finance Committee will, at its meeting, discuss and consider the document, which may mean a longer time for the document to get passed.

At the Establishment Subcommittee meeting, I reflected to officials that the rank of Headmaster in small (with 11 classes or fewer) primary schools is Senior Primary School Master (SPSM), which is not comparable even with the Deputy Headmaster of a large school. In addition, I also expressed concern over the situation that the rank (APSM) currently accommodating curriculum coordinators of small schools will, when all teaching posts in schools are pegged at the GM/APSM level, become a grassroot rank, which means that curriculum coordinators will be deprived of the corresponding increase in remuneration arising from the change of the ranking structure. The Government should rationalize the change and remedy the deficiencies.

Under Secretary for Education CHOI Yuk-lin said that headmasters of primary schools meet the level of professionalism required but since the ‘the numbers of staff members under their responsibility’ are different, it is necessary to ‘appropriately allocate resources in different schools’. However, headmasters of small primary school similarly have to deal with a great variety of complicated matters. Is EDB ignoring headmasters of small schools? CHOI indicated her belief that Members of the Task Force on Professional Development of Teachers would not neglect the views of small schools.

As it is now close to the end of the school term, I will, at this critical time, do my best to ask the Government to schedule this matter for discussion at the Finance Committee soonest possible and seek support from Members for the passage of the document, so that schools can make budgetary and personnel arrangements for the new school year.

Primary 3 TSA survey by HKPTU: pressure on drills still felt by almost 80% of teachers

On primary 3 TSA, HKPTU conducted earlier on a questionnaire and telephone survey with its primary school representatives and with its members. We received responses from 395 schools. After discounting the number of ‘not clear’ responses, it was found that nearly 70% of the schools participated in an entire-form manner. The number of schools participating in this manner increased from 201 to 234, representing an increase of 16.4%: a serious deterioration of the situation. In other words, since the resumption of Primary 3 TSA in 2018, about two-thirds of our primary 3 students are still living in the shadow of primary 3 TSA.

According to the questionnaires, 77.3% of the teachers in schools joining TSA in an entire-form manner indicated that this kind of participation brought to them pressure for drills. Particularly note-worthy is that among the respondents in schools that did not have entire-form participation last year but will have this year, 41.5% of them felt an increase in drill pressure, reflecting the generation of extra drill pressure on teachers and students by entire-form participation.

The survey found that schools with entire-form participation were less likely to consult teachers. Among the teachers of schools having entire-form participation, less than half (48.1%) of the teachers had been consulted before their schools decided to have entire-form participation. On the other hand, among the schools that did not opt for entire-form participation, as many as 65.7% of the teachers had been consulted. This reflects that the management of schools that did not opt for entire-form participation was more open-minded. Overall speaking, only 30% of the schools consulted all of their teachers, a situation which is not ideal.

Night vigil for the 30th Anniversary of 4 June

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the 4 June incident. As in the past, I and a group of people striving for the vindication of 4 June gathered in Victoria Park to commemorate the incident. The candlelight lit up not only Victoria Park, but also the hearts of Hong Kong people. Every year, the light of 4 June shines on those people of Hong Kong who steadfastly uphold the truth and who refuse to forget the incident. Every face was so sincere and every eye was so touching.

Attending graduation ceremony of Greenville Anglo-Chinese Kindergarten

Upon invitation, I officiated at the graduation ceremony of Greenville Anglo-Chinese Kindergarten on 18 June. The innocent and happy smiles on the pupils’ faces relieved me of the atmosphere of disputes and tensions in the few days before the graduation.

Early childhood education is an important learning stage for children. I would like to thank the headmaster and teachers for their love and dedication. They teach the children to acquire knowledge and to learn politeness. They cultivate children’s interest in learning, and help them to grow up healthily and confidently. I would also wish all graduates ‘fine words and laudable deeds’ and a broader sky for learning as they step into a new learning phase.

Seminar: Pegging all teaching posts at the GM/APSM level

All teaching posts in primary and secondary schools can, with effect from academic year 2019/2020, be pegged at the GM/APSM level, either all in one go or in two years. To its seminar held on 14 June, HKPTU invited principals and teachers to share how schools would deal with relevant personnel arrangements so as to ensure a smooth transition. At the seminar, attended by dozens of teachers, I answered a portion of the questions raised. Some of the issues raised cannot be addressed under existing policies. I will refer individual cases to EDB.

Consul-General of the Federal Republic of Germany

At the end of last month, dozens of consuls-general from different countries attended a banquet at the Legislative Council. Among those present, the one attracting most attention was, of course, Consul-General Dieter Lamlé of the Federal Republic of Germany. Media workers went crazy with him for interviews.

In fact, at this moment, not only do media workers pay attention to the consuls-general of various countries, the latter are also paying an unprecedented level of attention to Hong Kong. Is such close attention good or bad for Hong Kong?

11 June 2019 Establishment Subcommittee
Rationalizing the salary structures of headmasters and deputy headmasters of public primary schools

31 May 2019 Finance Committee
The Government should, soonest possible, arrange to make it a regular feature to pay DSE examination fees for candidates.

28 May 2019 Joint meeting of the Panel on Welfare Services and the Panel on Education
On-site Pre-school Rehabilitation Services fails to cover 6-year-old kindergarten students who are not promoted to primary education

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