Principals had mixed feelings on the usefulness of a major teacher development event held by the Education and Manpower Bureau this week. More than 3,000 teachers attended the Knowledge Fair 2003 at Yaumati Catholic Primary School (Hoi Wang Road) and Po Leung Kuk Camoes Tan Siu Lin Primary School on Wednesday, an annual event to promote and share good school practices as part of the reform drive. The fair, with the theme 'Widening the Space of Learning', showcased about 50 projects on flexible curricula, diversified learning, and teaching and assessment strategies. It was opened with a keynote speech by Professor Ference Marton from University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Dr Anissa Chan Wong Lai-kuen, chairwoman of Hong Kong Subsidised Secondary Schools Council, who attended the fair with some of her colleagues, said: 'I think the series of seminars offered a valuable opportunity for teachers to learn from successful frontline experience.' But some educators doubted the value of teacher development programmes of such a massive scale. 'I did not go because I wanted to create space for myself. I've got lots of work to do,' said Lisa Yip Sau-wah, principal of Sha Tin Tsung Tsin Secondary School. The principal said she rarely attended the EMB's professional development events. 'To be fair, not all the EMB's activities are of little use. But I prefer to attend teacher training functions organised by universities and private education consultants because they better tailor for my needs,' she said. She also tried to avoid the EMB's consultation forums. 'What the education officials do in those forums is really to inform rather than consult teachers. Very often, they just put the content of the consultation documents on to PowerPoint, as if we can't read the documents ourselves,' she said.