Doubts cast on Basic Law test for civil servants

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 May, 2011, 12:00am


A test for civil service recruits on their knowledge of the Basic Law may be unnecessary, the Public Service Commission says.

The commission, which is responsible for advising the chief executive on civil service appointments, promotions and disciplinary matters, said in its latest annual report that the test might have caused some good candidates to miss out on job offers. It recommended a government review of the test, three years after its introduction.

Commission chairman Nicholas Ng Wing-fui (pictured) said yesterday that some prospective civil servants might have missed the date of the test, which is held only two or three times a year.

'The commission has no doubt that Hong Kong citizens should have an understanding of the Basic Law. But since the test is held only two or three times a year, some good candidates may have missed civil service jobs because their lack of a Basic Law test score put them at a disadvantage when compared with competitors.'

The report also noted that curriculum reform in primary and secondary schools meant more school leavers would have acquired knowledge of the Basic Law by the time they applied for jobs. 'If everyone has the knowledge already, is it still necessary to test them?' Ng said.

The annual report said: 'It is worthwhile for the administration to review the continuous need for the Basic Law test when the incorporation of Basic Law assessment in the recruitment process has been implemented for some time.'

The test, in the form of 15 multiple choice questions, was introduced in September 2008 as a step to promote Basic Law knowledge. Two sets of papers of different levels are set for positions requiring degree or professional qualifications and for those with lower academic requirements.

Results form part of the job seekers' score in their applications, but they do not have to take it.