Frustrated students, teachers and alumni of the city's only tertiary performing arts institute have stepped up their criticism of its administration, expressing concern about the drama dean's long absences from work and a lack of consultation about his successor. They have called for a review of the 1984 Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts Ordinance in order to improve the governance of the institution, which will play a key role in supplying performing arts talent for the West Kowloon Cultural District. At a June 19 meeting with academy management, including director Kevin Thompson and drama dean David Jiang, students and staff complained about the selection process for new drama dean Tang Shu-wing. They criticised the academy for scrapping a meeting between them and the two candidates - Mr Tang, currently head of directing and playwriting, and current head of acting Peter Jordan - because it believed that students and faculty members were already familiar with the two candidates. The meeting was only reinstated after a students' petition. They told the South China Morning Post that Professor Jiang, who will retire this month, was away from his office most of the time. In November, he was away for one week. In December, he worked for one week. He was at work for less than two weeks in January and only three days in February. He was in the office for half of March, one week in April and one week last month. 'Can [Chief Executive] Donald Tsang [Yam-kuen] spend most of the year overseas in the name of promoting Hong Kong?' asked actor Anthony Wong Chau-sang, an alumnus of the academy. Drama lecturer and alumnus Cecilia Ng Kit-yan questioned how management could allow the school's head to be away for so long. She said that while Professor Jiang was away, a lot of management decisions could not be made. She said he had not participated in any meetings concerning changes to be made for the new '3+3+4' schools system. Fong Chun-kit, president of the drama school students' association, said Professor Jiang's prolonged absence was irresponsible. HKAPA Policy Concern Group convenor Joyce Cheung, also a drama alumnus, said the governance problems had to be addressed. Professor Thompson said management was addressing the concerns identified. '[We are] putting in place measures to enhance our procedures, and seeking to address immediate and longer-term space and accommodation requirements.' A spokeswoman said Professor Jiang's leave was within his contractual entitlement, including a staff-exchange programme with Beijing's Central Academy of Drama in April and last month. She said he had taken part in the discussion of the new four-year degree curriculum when the issue was first raised in 2005. Mr Fong said students had asked the academy to consider having student representatives on the school council, adding that the academy ordinance should be reviewed. Lawmaker Wong Yuk-man said the outdated ordinance could not accommodate the academy's development and questioned whether it would be more appropriate to place the institution under the University Grants Committee instead of the Home Affairs Bureau. A bureau spokesman said it had been monitoring the matter and the academy would hire a consultant to review its position in arts education and cultural development.