HKIEd staff and students to grill prospective chief

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 September, 2007, 12:00am

Academic freedom, staff morale and the quest for university status are likely to dominate the first meetings today between Hong Kong Institute of Education staff and students and their prospective new president.

The meetings were scheduled to take place first thing this morning, after Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, an executive councillor and City University professor, was named as the only shortlisted candidate for the job by a search committee.

Leung Yan-wing, vice-chairman of the academic staff association, said he would like to know Professor Cheung's stance on academic freedom, including his view on the government's decision on Monday to seek a judicial review of a commission of inquiry's finding into alleged political interference in the academic affairs of the HKIEd under its previous president, Paul Morris.

Dr Leung said he would also like to know Professor Cheung's strategy for promoting the institute's efforts to gain university status, and how he would improve staff morale.

'I want to know how Professor Cheung resolved problems in the past,' he said, adding that Professor Cheung should explain to staff how he would handle changes in research and teaching under the new senior secondary structure.

Pang I-wah, deputy head of the Department of Educational Policy and Administration, said he wanted to know why Professor Cheung took up the offer. 'I want to know whether he had any hesitation before agreeing to come.'

Victor Au Kin-ho, internal vice-president of the institute's student union, said a number of students had concerns about Professor Cheung as a prospective president and were anxious to know his educational philosophy, given that he was not an educational specialist.

'I feel this is even more important than the retitling issue. We all want to become a university, but the question is, what is his vision?

'What sort of university of education does he plan to lead once we have the university title?

'I hope he will be able to give us a clear direction for future development.'

However, he said some students had been disappointed that only one candidate had been recommended for the position, and were not convinced Professor Cheung was the best man for the job.

'A number of students have told me they would prefer someone else if they were given an alternative.'