Letter to the Chief Executive on the professionalism of Hong Kong educators | 讓教育真正回歸教育 — 對特首施政報告的一些建議 7/Jan/2013


The main focus of the Chief Executive Policy Address 2013 is on economic and livelihood issues. Our Association wondered if the Chief Executive have paid due attention to the development of education in Hong Kong. The most important question would be whether the government have any short to long-term policies and commitment on education well supported by vision and planning. 

Building a common vision on education

Human resources are Hong Kong’s most precious resources. It is therefore important that our education can nurture young people who are knowledgeable, creative, outward-looking and willing to commit. To attain these goals, we need a good education system, sound government policies and adequate financial support. To develop a forward-looking education system with Hong Kong characteristics, the government must replace its short-sighted, fragmented and executive-led management with a new system that emphasises long-term visions and overall planning. Specifically, the Education Bureau (EDB) should carry out a full review of the entire education system and curriculum to come up with a blueprint for future development.

Our education system has come to a time of challenges: the New Secondary School (NSS) Curriculum, adjustment of the medium of instruction, moral and national education and decrease in student population etc. Take the last two issues as examples, the government’s handling reflected its lack of long-term planning, willingness to listen to different opinions or readiness to build a common vision with the education sector.

Pursuing quality of education

Hong Kong education still puts excessive emphasis on academic performance and international rating. Evaluations of students’ learning and school performance are based on singular measures and narrow indicators, ignoring other important factors such as character, affect, attitude, conduct and values of the students. The NSS, for example, was originally designed to encourage diverse learning and self-reflection. However, university admissions are still disproportionately linked to the Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) Examination results and learning diversity is curtailed by a curriculum requiring students to take only four major subjects and two to three electives. Depth and width of learning disappear.

As the secondary school student population is declining, our education reform should take advantage of this opportunity to start small-class teaching. Unfortunately, the officials in charge of education refused to acknowledge its benefits on the ground of financial burdens. Regrettably, our government has put economic consideration over quality of education.

Narrowing the gap in education

Disparity of the rich and the poor has greatly affected equal opportunity to education. One solid example is the special status of Direct Subsidy Scheme schools. These schools enjoy less regulatory measures and have better financial resources which enhance their staff provisions, learning facilities and environment. Another example is the inequity in which some students have a better chance to get into universities through the non-JUPAS channel. The results are: social mobility for poor students is reduced; cross-generation poverty is intensified, economically deprived students are being marginalized; their potentials and talents are unable to realize; social harmony and development are compromised. As long as our government does not expand aided higher education, economic dominance over education will remain.

Improving professionalism

To achieve the above three goals, we must improve our education professionalism. The EDB must allow more autonomy for schools, reduce government intervention, consolidate the strengths within the education system, promote professional leadership of school principals, and advocate stability and continuous development among the teachers.


The Hong Kong education system has its merits. Our students, though under a lot of pressures, are eager to make progress. Our teachers, though bearing heavy workload, are dedicated. It is puzzling to me that Hong Kong, as an international metropolis with a huge financial surplus, is unwilling to put more money into education. Countries such as Finland, the United States and the United Kingdom invest more than 5% of their GDP on education. Why is our government unwilling to invest more on education?

Good education planning should be guided by long-term goals and directions. Short-term measures dealing only with the present are unable to nurture new generation for the future. If the government overlooks the importance of education review and planning, the entire society has to bear the price. The question is: can we afford it?



    閣下於2013年1月1日於網誌內發表新年文告,提出四個期盼:(1) 香港經濟可以有比較高速度的增長;(2) 市民能夠齊心;(3) 七百萬人能彼此關顧;(4) 世界的政治和經濟局勢可以盡快回復正常。文告內多番提及  閣下及 貴團隊將繼續致力推行改善民生的政策,包括居住問題、港人優先政策問題、扶貧問題等。能急民之所急,解決社會矛盾,固然是盡責任的政府應有的承擔。但若如 閣下所言,圍繞上述內容的施政報告是未來五年的施政藍圖,則我們擔心單單聚焦於經濟民生問題,施政的覆蓋面是否足夠? 閣下對香港教育的發展是否有足夠的關注?對有關教育的短、中期政策與及長期承擔,又是否有具願景的規劃?















    香港教育制度,有其成功之處。置身前線,看到的是學生們在壓力下勇於求進,老師們在沉重的工作量下緊守崗位。讓我們難以理解的是,作為國際都會的香港,在坐擁大量財政儲備下,卻不願為教育作出更大的承擔。當我們從不同的統計數字上看到全球教育成效彰顯的國家如芬蘭,先進的國家如美國、英國等,其教育投放均超越GDP的5%, 閣下又是否願意提高香港政府對教育的財政承擔?