ESF - English Schools Foundation

Letters to the Editor, December 2, 2012

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 February, 2013, 3:11pm

Courses at institutions lack diversity

The recent release of the estimated and actual intakes of locally-accredited self-financing full-time post-secondary programmes gives cause for concern.

Some of the programmes have met estimated intakes, some have fallen well short and others have been accused of enrolling too many students.

I doubt whether the current policy on post-secondary education in Hong Kong is sustainable.

Many operating bodies of privately-funded colleges lack the experience and skill-set needed to run a post-secondary education institution. This can adversely affect their students.

In the 2010 University Grants Committee report, "Aspirations for the Higher Education System in Hong Kong", recommendations were made regarding the post-secondary education system and how to improve it.

The current system is complex and fragmented. Currently, almost all of these institutes have business-related programmes. It is ridiculous for all of them to offer the same or very similar courses. There should be a clear differentiation of roles throughout the post-secondary education system to ensure full diversity of provision.

To ensure better utilisation of public and private resources, the government should adopt policies which treat all elements of post-secondary educational provision as a single interlocking system including both privately and publicly funded institutions.

To achieve this, there should be a single oversight body for the non-publicly funded part of the post-secondary sector.

The government should consider reviewing the whole post-secondary education system or the future of students doing self-financing courses will be at risk.

Lam Wai-leung, Ma On Shan 


Reclamation not way to get more houses

I agree with Trevor Yeung about the problems connected with the government's measures to mitigate the property market ("We need more reclamation projects", November 27). However, I would have doubts about the effectiveness of reclamation projects.

This is a small city and we must not give up our areas of greenery or any part of Victoria Harbour to make way for housing. I believe the government should meet the housing demand converting all unused land into public residential use.

The government hoards and then sells at the best time to private developers to maximise profits. The developers then build luxury flats and sells them at unaffordable prices and we have a vicious cycle.

If Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying wants to see skyrocketing prices and rents drop, he should simply build public housing on that land.

Critics of such a proposal refer to the problems caused by the policy building 85,000 units a year, with property prices plunging because of a surplus of flats.

But that was more than a decade ago and the present situation is different.

The property market shows no signs of faltering, coupled with the fact that there is still a lot of demand for flats from mainlanders. This means there will have to be more austerity measures implemented.

As well as increasing land supply the administration could also implement a programme of building rehabilitation.

There are some older residential blocks in Hong Kong that are in a dilapidated state and that could be redeveloped. If they were converted into public housing apartments they could probably meet the housing needs of citizens.

If it wants to work for the benefit of its citizens the government should act swiftly.

James Au Kin-pong, Lai Chi Kok


Synod's 'no' vote a victory for bigotry

The recent vote by the General Synod to reject a 12-year campaign to allow women to be elevated to bishops has dealt a divisive blow to the heart of the Church of England.

Perhaps these bigoted bishops may now like to telephone Queen Elizabeth, head of the Church of England, and inform her that she is surplus to requirements.

Mark Peaker, The Peak 


Time to get tough with beauty centres

The tragic death of a 46-year-old woman who underwent blood transfusion therapy, has raised public concern about poor regulation of the cosmetic and beauty industries.

Nowadays, more people are willing to spend money in the pursuit of beauty and so beauty parlour businesses are booming. But, given what happened to this woman and three others [who suffered septic shock], clients have to be aware of the potential danger of some treatments.

They have to take responsibility for their decisions, but the government should also try to ensure there is no repeat of this tragedy.

It should introduce guidelines regarding beauty treatment. There must be a clear classification of what is on offer and a distinction made between a cosmetic procedure and medical therapy. Some centres are taking advantage of loopholes in the present weak regulation. Clear classification of cosmetic practice and medical therapy is crucial as some beauty parlours take advantage of the loopholes in the present weak regulations. Some treatment should be confined to hospitals and registered clinics. There should also be a licensing system for beauty treatment practitioners.

People going to these centres must ask about potential risks so have a clear idea of what a procedure involves. If in doubt, they should consult a doctor.

Yeung Hoi-ting, Yau Ma Tei


Unwise to forget 2003 protests

Article 23 keeps popping its ugly head up again and again.

Will the national education debacle be repeated on a scale many times bigger? Will the "yes" men and women forget the clarity of thought opposing them in 2003, particularly from the core middle class?

Do we really want to seriously threaten/oppress outspoken legislators and people waving British or other flags who encourage others?

It is unthinkable and bordering on the bizarre for most of us, but possible.

It would clearly be swift, political suicide for the government.

Patrick Gilbert, Fo Tan


Supporting Chinese-only rule for courts

I refer to the article by Victor Fung Keung ("Chinese-only top court would hurt HK's global standing", November 28) who says foreigners should continue to be allowed to sit on "Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal".

That the Basic Law allows foreigners to serve is a sick joke.

We're not talking about the Rotary Club or the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

There's nothing wrong with a Hong Kong Chinese-only rule concerning Hong Kong's courts. After all, everywhere else in the world, one must be a citizen or ID card holder to serve in a court.

Fung claims that not allowing foreigners to serve on Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal would jeopardise the city's international standing, as if to say that Hong Kong Chinese can't make proper legal rulings according to how the law is actually written.

In New York or London, only citizens can serve as judges. Can we claim these cities don't have international standing?

Western judges in Hong Kong have used the law in order to suit their social activist purposes.

They have not shown any concern for the Hong Kong people.

Jim Robinson, Wan Chai 


Movement is out to smash unique ESF

One of Hong Kong's most valuable assets is under attack.

It is not only one of the pillars of our community, it is internationally recognised as being truly world class.

It makes a unique contribution to the social fabric of this fabulous city.

Also, it forms a bridge between cultures, boosts business confidence, and adds flair and prowess to our sports teams.

It is the only organisation here to provide for a certain section of our youngsters who are in special need.

Thousands of Hongkongers depend daily on it - more than 70 per cent of its members are permanent residents. Hong Kong is their home.

For many years the government has given it full support, helping it to become a benchmark for quality, diversity, and cost.

But not for much longer. Fuelled by ill-informed journalists and occasional xenophobic outbursts from others, there is now a movement to smash this organisation and place it beyond the reach of the average Hongkonger.

The English Schools Foundation looks destined to become like all the other international schools - a place only for the elite.

The gap in our society will be increased. And Hong Kong will be poorer for it.

It's a crying shame.

Mark Loasby, Lantau