A new recruitment drive by the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd) has provoked anger among lecturers still smarting over a swathe of redundancies last year. The Lecturers' Association is writing to the institute's council demanding an explanation after the HKIEd placed newspaper advertisements last week for lecturers and five principal lecturers for various departments. Association president Thomas Yeung Kim-wai said there was suspicion about the reasons for the earlier redundancy scheme, in which 34 staff were sacked. 'Why are they recruiting staff when they said there had to be redundancies?' he asked. A number of English department lecturers were leaving as a result of the redundancy exercise but were not going to be replaced, said HKIEd deputy director Norman Ngai Wai-yiu. He said the current recruitment drive was vital to pave the way for the institute's drive to attain university status. HKIEd is due to go through a teaching quality review conducted by the University Grants Committee in June, before discussing with the Government the timetable for a status upgrading later this year or early next year. Meanwhile, the institute is trying to strengthen research and teaching in a number of areas including early childhood education, which has been understaffed, Mr Ngai said. Principal lecturers are also being sought for music, assessment, mathematics and social sciences, while lecturers and instructors are being sought for a range of areas from information technology, music and art education, sports sciences, physical education to educational psychology. The institute has also placed advertisements abroad.