Teachers quit conduct council as row worsens

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 February, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 February, 1998, 12:00am

More educators yesterday quit as government advisers to express their anger at the Education Department.

Following the resignation of chairman Professor Cheng Kai-ming last week, seven principals and teachers yesterday resigned as members of the Council on Professional Conduct in Education.

They said Director of Education Helen Yu Lai Ching-ping had long ignored them and had shown no respect.

Mrs Yu said she was sorry about their decision but rejected suggestions there was a lack of communication between the department and the council and refused to respond to members' specific accusations.

She said she would seek to meet the resigned members this week to ask them to reconsider.

'I hope members can talk face to face about their problems. I am demonstrating my sincerity,' said Ms Yu.

The council, set up in 1994 following the Education Commission's recommendation, advises on disputes or alleged professional misconduct involving teachers.

The council has 28 members, most nominated and elected from education bodies and schools. Members said the department had not actively helped the council.

'Never has the Education Department really shown its minimum respect and support to the council,' representative Ho Hon-kuen said.

'The department has not consulted us on any documents about teacher conduct, nor has it referred any cases to the council for hearing and discussion. The department keeps ignoring the council even if its members have handled cases on their own and made recommendations to the department.' Mr Ho said the mass resignation was also to raise people's concern over the importance of future education.

'Teachers should enjoy full autonomy. The administrators should be alerted to this otherwise the future General Teaching Council will be of no good,' he said.

The Government plans to set up the council in two years to regulate and monitor teachers.

The members resigning were: Ho Hon-kuen, Fung Man-ching, Hui Wai-tin, Lau Kam-man, To Chi-chiu, Tse Chung-yee and Yung Tsang Sun-mei. They are to form a group to promote teacher conduct.