Protests fail to keep education chiefs off advisory bodies

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 July, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 July, 1998, 12:00am

Education chiefs can continue to sit on influential advisory bodies despite protests from frontline teachers, a report ruled yesterday.

The Secretary for Education and Manpower, Joseph Wong Wing-ping, can retain the position of ex-officio vice-chairman of the Education Commission while the Director of Education, Helen Yu Lai Ching-ping, will remain vice-chairman of the Board of Education.

This would ensure direct communication between the Government and frontline education workers, said the final report on Review of Education-related Executive and Advisory Bodies endorsed yesterday.

A consultation paper was released in May and 40 written submissions had been received over three weeks.

'We fully endorse that the advisory bodies play an essential role in collating and processing ideas and advocacy about education development,' said a government spokesman. 'We greatly cherish the sense of partnership with which these bodies have worked with the administration, and will ensure this partnership is further enhanced.' The Government ignored pleas to block Mr Wong being an ex-officio member of the commission. 'During [talks], there were comments that if the secretary were to cease being the commission's vice-chairman it might convey the impression that the administration was attaching less importance to its recommendations.

'On balance we consider it appropriate to continue with the present arrangement,' said the report.

The Director of Education should also remain on the Board of Education so that 'the Education Department would not be seen as distancing itself from the board'.

The Board of Education had argued strongly to retain its status quo.