The head of a prestigious girls' school criticised the proposed education re vamp during the school's speech day. 'Hong Kong might be worse off if our education system were to undergo a complete overhaul as proposed,' said Heep Yunn School principal Millie Lai Lau Wei-kit, as guest-of-honour Professor Cheng Kai-ming, pro-vice chancellor of the University of Hong Kong, listened. Professor Cheng is a member of the Education Commission, which proposed the revamp of the education system which been blamed for declining standards. Mrs Lai was opposed to the scrapping of the Academic Aptitude Test and the Secondary School Places Allocation System, saying the the test could be improved while the allocation system, which she considered 'effective generally', should be retained. She also questioned the three alternative allocation methods suggested in the proposal. She said random allocation would result in a great range of abilities among students and pose problems for teachers; linking primary and secondary schools was impossible given the great dis parity in their qualities; and recruitment by schools themselves would create competition and put the unpopular ones at a disadvantage. Mrs Lai also said the long-established and elite schools were 'treated with contempt', 'viewed as a burden to our education system' and 'left with little facilities and funds to slowly build up a quality culture'. The Government, the press and the education sector should change their attitude and learn from these schools how to develop a quality culture that parents embraced, she said. 'We need elite schools to cater to the best students. If the education system is only geared for the majority, the best will not be able to develop their full potential and we will lose our leaders of tomorrow,' Mrs Lai said. The reform proposal said the education system had stagnated with industrialisation as it catered to a select few and disadvantaged the majority to create a large number of losers. It suggested dead-end screen ing and banding be removed to benefit the majority with maximum life-long learning opportunities as society became increasingly knowledge-based in the information era. 'I have to take home the speech to study before I can say whether I agree to it or not,' Professor Cheng said as he delivered his speech. Professor Cheng, the warden of Lee Hysan Hall of the Univer sity of Hong Kong, said Heep Yunn graduates were gentle, intellectual girls who displayed leadership skills in organising activities. He said society in the information era favoured people who were not only intelligent but also intellectual, with full consciousness of the 'human dimensions of life'. He praised the school for nurturing intellectuals who 'live and work not only with their minds, but also with their hearts'. Remarking on the negative reactions of some schools towards the proposed revamp after the ceremony, Professor Cheng said: 'I think they have many assumptions which we haven't had the chance to explain in detail. Some of their predictions will not happen in reality.' One of the more than 100 secondary schools allowed to use English as the medium of instruction, Heep Yuun is a Christian girls' school founded more than 60 years ago. Its students often perform very well in public examinations and inter-school competitions.