Teachers give Education Minister Eddie Ng Hak-kim a failing grade

Eddie Ng accused of not doing homework as union poll reveals dissatisfaction with bureau

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 January, 2014, 3:13am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 January, 2014, 4:47am

Teachers are giving failing grades to the education minister and the Education Bureau's top civil servant, a survey published yesterday reveals.

The Professional Teachers' Union study showed that almost half of the 555 teachers questioned gave Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim the lowest mark on a scale of one to five, while 30 per cent gave him just two out of five.

More than half of the teachers gave permanent secretary for education Cherry Tse Ling Kit-ching one or two points out of five. Over 70 per cent gave the bureau as a whole one or two points.

The union says many teachers see Ng, whose background is in human resources, as unfamiliar with the education sector and unwilling to listen and learn.

The fact Tse makes few public appearances and has shown little sign of activity left teachers with a negative impression of her, he added.

"The bureau has been drifting apart from the sector in recent years," union president Dr Fung Wai-wah said. "It's been working behind closed doors. We're not surprised at the results."

Conducted in November last year, the survey involved kindergarten, primary and secondary school teachers and university academics who were members of the union.

Researchers did not reveal an exact margin of error, but said the margin would not affect the overwhelmingly negative results.

Fung said Ng's public question-and-answer sessions had exposed him as ignorant of education issues and suggested he had failed to do his homework.

He cited an example from 2012, when Ng kept his head down as 200 black-clad secondary school principals rallied outside the Legislative Council building to demand smaller class sizes. It was Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor who stepped up instead to deal with the issue, Fung said.

"We have doubts over [Ng's] ability to handle crises," he said.

Fung said he was not holding his breath for positive announcements in Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's policy address on Wednesday. He said the union wanted the government to hire more teachers, and more administrative staff to free up teachers from non-teaching work.