A MORE objective appraisal system for government school staff is expected to be in place next September with teachers calling the existing system unfair. But the news may come too late for a government school teacher whose suicide last month is believed to be related to his failure to get a promotion, despite 13 years' experience. Stella Hui Lai-shun, chairman of the Union of Graduate Officers in Government Secondary School, criticised the existing appraisal system for having many loopholes, saying unfair treatment had devastated teacher morale. Ms Hui claimed the department had changed the promotion criteria this school year by putting more emphasis on performance rather than seniority. 'But the system fails to take into account the heavier workload a more experienced teacher usually has to bear,' Ms Hui said. She said the compulsory use of English in the appraisal also hindered a proper expression by some senior teachers and there were complaints that some principals had failed to play a proper role in the assessments. Among the complaints on promotion, one concerned a teacher at Yuen Long Chiu Lut Sau Memorial Secondary School, Chu Hok-kan, 46, who plunged to his death on November 25. A close colleague, Kwok Hin-shing, said Chu had been an efficient and diligent teacher for 13 years. However, Chu, an assistant education officer, was not chosen in recent promotions where 92 of the 93 education officer vacancies at government schools were filled by teachers with five to 12 years' experience. Mr Kwok said: 'To the best of my knowledge, the only thing which made Chu unhappy since the start of the term this year was his failure to get a promotion.' The 70-year-old mother of Chu, Mak Kan-foon, said her son, whose funeral will be held on Monday, was hard working and had hoped for a promotion. It is understood an education officer had told Chu that his appraisal report written by the school was not as good as the others so he was not promoted. A vice-principal of the school declined to comment. Under the existing system, three senior staff of a school write an appraisal report on staff for submission to a central board. While the department said it would not comment on individual cases, there were sufficient channels for staff to complain. Asked if the existing system was objective enough, an assistant director of Education, James Kwan Kin-cheung, said a review started about two years ago. Mr Kwan said: 'The new system is expected to be more objective and be introduced next school year.' He said the proposed new appraisal form had a more detailed listing of a staff's responsibilities and workload and an improved marking system. Another assistant director of Education, Tsui See-ming, said they were also considering allowing the use of Chinese as a reporting language.