Lawmakers lay their cards on the table

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 July, 2007, 12:00am

Legislators wasted no time presenting Michael Suen Ming-yeung their wish list for policy changes at his first education panel meeting this week.

Small-class teaching, institutional autonomy, academic freedom, education for ethnic minorities and the need for more student hostels topped the list of concerns legislators called on him to tackle.

He came under fire for the government's reaction to the Institute of Education inquiry, with legislators demanding to know why his predecessor, Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, had not been punished.

Although the inquiry found insufficient evidence to back claims Professor Li had interfered with the institute's autonomy, it concluded he 'more likely than not' told members of its ruling council it would be 'raped' if they did not agree to merge with Chinese University.

But despite lawmakers' demands, Mr Suen said he had no plans to propose new policies anytime soon.

'I'm not going to propose initiatives for the moment. I believe we should take the opportunity to look at ways to improve policies that are being implemented,' he said.

Mr Suen said there had been heated community debate over education issues in recent years.

'I think we need to look at these policies to see whether we should make some changes in the light of different circumstances and if old problems have been resolved and we have new problems do we need to adjust our measures,' he said.

On small-class teaching, Mr Suen said he should discuss the implications with his colleagues.