Officials accused of blocking creation of teachers' professional group
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The government has stepped up its opposition to the creation of an independent professional teachers' body, a backer says.
James Hon Lin-shan, chairman of the Council on Professional Conduct in Education (CPCE), an advisory body under the Education Bureau, said the bureau had stopped providing secretarial assistance to the council's General Teaching Council (GTC) preparatory subcommittee several months ago.
The subcommittee was created two years ago for the purpose of exploring how to transform the council into an independent regulatory body.
Hon said the bureau had also turned down funding applications to conduct a citywide survey to gauge teachers' views towards setting up the body, and to print related brochures.
The idea of a general teaching council was proposed almost two decades ago. It was hoped teachers could be put on par with other professions in town - doctors for example - which have their own regulatory bodies. The Medical Council, for instance, permanently deregistered a doctor last month who had repeatedly photographed his female patients without their knowledge.
Hon said an independent teachers' body could handle registration and disqualifications, a power that currently rested with the bureau.
But Hon said: "Under the current social atmosphere, the government is … more inclined to exercise control, out of a fear of frontline workers gaining power."
The bureau said the CPCE would exceed its powers if it pioneered an independent body. "Different opinions persist within the [education] industry about the [GTC], after over a decade since it was suggested," it said.
Meanwhile, the CPCE received 40 complaints against teachers and school administrators from May to November, a "big number", Hon said.