Education secretary salutes teachers

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 September, 2010, 12:00am

The education secretary appealed to school leaders to offer support to their teachers as he presided over the 15th annual celebration of Teachers' Day.

Michael Suen Ming-yeung led a charm offensive, shaking the hands of hundreds of teachers commended by their schools for the Salute to Teachers 2010.

But he refused to rule out secondary school closures over the coming five years, with Form One student numbers projected to fall by 21.9 per cent from 69,000 this year to 53,900 in the 2016-17 school year.

'I can't promise that there will be no shocks,' Suen said yesterday. 'Our target is to stabilise the situation as far as possible and to help schools and teachers to achieve sustainable development without adversely affecting the quality of teaching.

'I hope that all in the education sector can work hand in hand to actively participate in the discussions and explore measures which will minimise the shock.'

Suen called on school managements to create room for teachers and offer them support and establish a people-based management culture with love and care. 'To reach the goals of reform in the classrooms we are relying on the efforts and professional spirit of teachers,' he said.

Some 1,300 teachers from kindergartens and primary and secondary schools were presented with certificates during the event at the Hong Kong International Trade and Exhibition Centre in Kowloon Bay. The teachers, who had been nominated by their schools, included 40 who were being commended for the fifth year in a row.

Leung Yu-ming, who teaches English and design and technology at Hong Kong Chinese Women's Club Fung Yiu King Memorial Secondary School in Ma On Shan, said he was nominated by his students.

'It's a great honour,' he said. 'The greatest difficulty I face as a teacher is the high workload and the relatively low status of teachers. The workload has increased a lot over recent years because of the new senior secondary curriculum, external assessment of schools, extra paperwork and greater demands from parents.'