Equal Opportunities Commission

Education chiefs consider dodging law on equality

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 September, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 September, 1999, 12:00am

The Education Department might seek an exemption to stop an anti-discrimination law being used against its secondary school places allocation system, which ranks boys and girls separately.

The move follows a recent inquiry by the Equal Opportunities Commission which found the allocation system discriminated against pupils on the basis of their sex.

As a result of boys and girls being ranked separately according to their results in tests, either group could be disadvantaged, the commission said.

It is urging the department to correct the system or face possible legal action.

But the department says the separate ranking is used as girls usually out-perform boys in tests because they are more mature.

The Board of Education is taking legal advice on whether it can apply to the courts for an exemption to avoid any such action.

Board member and chairman of the Committee on Home-School Co-operation Tik Chi-yuen said the exemption could be in place before the next allocations.

It would last one to two years to allow the department to work out a new system.

'This would avoid parents taking the department to court if they are not satisfied by the allocation results next year,' he said.

Both the schools placement system and the Academic Aptitude Test will be revamped or abolished in the next few years.

The commission refused to comment on whether it could block the application for an exemption.