Principal fights retirement before 70
CLIFF BUDDLE and SHIRLEY KWOK
A headmaster is taking the Government to court in an effort to stop him being forced into retirement before he turns 70.
Lau Chi-fai, 60, principal of the SKH Tsang Shiu Tim Secondary School in Sha Tin, claims the Code of Aid for Secondary Schools breaches the law by imposing 60 as the retirement age for teachers.
He is joined in the High Court action by Wong Chi-kin, who represents the school's management committee.
A writ says Mr Lau is entitled to hold his office until he is 70 and the Director of Education cannot withdraw her approval of him as school principal unless certain conditions are met.
The management committee is obliged to disregard the section of the code concerned until Mr Lau is 70, the writ adds.
It is also entitled to disregard any withdrawal of approval of him by the education director or any cancellation of his registration as a teacher, it is claimed.
SKH's education affairs spokesman, Timothy Ha Wing-ho, said that the group had 30 principals and teachers who had reached the age of 60 or above and had applied for an extension.
He said Mr Lau had been put forward as a test case. It had been up to the school management committees to approve extension of service until the Government changed the rules.
Director of Education Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun said the department had received 140 applications to extend service.
She said the Education Ordinance, which set the retirement age at 70, was for registering teachers, while the Code of Practice set retirement age at 60.
'If a grey area is found, the department will conduct a review. At this stage, there is no effect on the relationship between schools and the department,' she said.