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  1. 1. Floor 1 Mr. Antony Leung: Good evening, first of all a very warm welcome to all of you, I know that you all have a very busy schedule. I thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to come to today’s forum. Before we proceed, may be I would make just two kinds of request, one for those that like to listen to Chinese they can use the, I think you have a ear-phone, and there’s one that you can listen to what is happening on the floor, basically is English, and there is another channel that you can listen to which is in Cantonese. The second request is that if you have a mobile phone, do switch it off because it can be annoying, and it shows respect to speakers by switching off the mobile phone. Today we are here to really listen to the employers, the view of the employers, the view of the employers towards the education aims of Hong Kong. As you may know, about six weeks ago, we kicked off the consultation exercise on the aims of education in Hong Kong. The purpose of the review really is to assist us, the Education Commission, in conducting a review of the education system in Hong Kong, in particular with regard to the curriculum, the assessment method, as well as the structure of education including the duration of various segments. In conducting the review we quickly come to the view that it is necessary to review the aims of education here in Hong Kong, because it is only after a widespread discussion about the aims of education in Hong Kong that we can really prioritize, and we can use those priorities to guide us in our second stage of the review. Similarly, with the views of the community, we can use the same set of priorities to help the Education Commission and the government, in prioritizing the various education initiatives in Hong Kong, including the review that we are doing. When we set out to do the consultation, we have two objectives in mind, one is to really listen to the views of the public; second is to ignite fire, so to speak, that is to really lift the community enthusiasm about the education in Hong Kong, which is the enthusiasm really needed for us to continue our reform in Hong Kong. Up to Saturday which we really end the first phase of the consultation, I would say that both objectives were met. We received over 14,000 written comments from the public, which I must say is a very good sign and I’m sure in the next few days we will be receiving a lot more, together with that we also have seen hundreds of articles being written in all the newspapers about education, I mean everyday there are number of articles being written and I think that it will continue as well. Also I must say I and other members of the Education Commission as well as the working groups have attended over fifty consultation sessions with all walks of the community, the educators, teachers, principals, students, parents, political parties, employers and various education groups as well as members from the social service community, youth workers, etc, etc. So I must say that based on 1
  2. 2. the responses that we have received so far, both objectives, meaning listening to the views of the public as well as igniting the fire within the minds of the community have been achieved, and that is a very good start. The next step that the EC will take would be firstly to report to all of you and the community what we have heard, I intended to do it by the end of March or so, but the preliminary feedback that we have obtained show at least the following points: One, the community wants change. I believe the community wants changes to the education system, and they want it badly. Secondly, they by and large agree with the aims that are stated in our consultation paper. But certainly they think they really want to focus the aims on the following four points, and they all evolve around the students. They say that they would like the students to really enjoy the education, because unless they enjoy the education, they will not develop the desire and ability to study throughout the students’ life. Also if they enjoy education chances are they will develop a good degree of self-confidence which is needed. Secondly that are the students should be able to communicate well and communicate well in both English and Chinese. And that clearly is needed for a community like ourselves which is an international community as well as an international economy. Thirdly, the community says, that they want the student to be creative, not just creative, but really to think critically, independently as well as creatively, that is clearly needed in the world of tomorrow, and that contrasts quite a bit with education system that we have today, which allows the people to criticize it, criticize it for being too examination-oriented, and people really learn by rote. Lastly but not least, the community says that the students should have commitment, commitment towards the society, the nation as well as the whole world. And that clearly would be something that is needed because if the students have the ability but not really a correct attitude, in that they may spend all the time in thinking about themselves but not the so called greater group of the community as a whole, and that I think the community is speaking loud and clear that they want the students of Hong Kong to have commitment towards the society. So these are the four points that we have somehow observed from the initial batch of feedback that we have received. We will be of course looking at the other feedbacks that we have not analysed to see what other priorities that the communities are telling us. But after the priorities are being set, we will use the priorities in the aims to guide us in our second stage of the review to help us make proposals, to change the curriculum, the examination system as well as the structure of education in Hong Kong. Simultaneously, the education commission will use the same set of priorities to prioritize the various education initiatives, that we are trying to do, some of which we may be stopping, some of them we may accelerate, and some of them we may do a little bit of reform because it is only through prioritizing it, focusing on 2
  3. 3. the right ones that we believe we can achieve the maximum result. And so these will be the things that the EC will be doing. Back to today’s forum, this consultation you have observed will focus not just on the education sector or just on the government, we also try to focus on the other segments of the community, in particular, the parents as well as the employers, because unless we really get everybody involved, and get everybody to have the the right view on education, otherwise the parents may erroneously just focus on the students’ ability to score well in examinations, and in that sense no matter how, how hard we try it to say that it is important to be creative, it is important to be communicative, it is important to have commitment to your society, nothing will change, because the parents will just keep asking the students to just focus on those that may be examined, and that would not be good for education system. But the parents have this kind of perception, based on the perception of what the employers would like to have. And I think it is important that the employers will be included to come out and really say something about what we, the employers, expected of education, and through the media which is presented today, somehow convey the correct message to the rest of the community about what we, the employers of Hong Kong, really want of education, and that really is the objective of today’s forum. And today we have a very strong panel talking to us. Let me briefly introduce them. From my far right we have Miss Lisa Cheng from the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, next to her is Mr. K.S. Yeung from the Employers’ Federation of Hong Kong, right next to me is Mr. Jeffrey Lam from the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, to my left is Mr. Irving Koo , from our own Education Commission, he himself is representing employer and also in the British Chamber of Commerce as well, right next to him is Mr. Andrew Webster representating the international business community, and that is Mr. Alan Lung representing the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, and last but not least, Mr. Duncan Pescod from the Civil Service Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR Government. Each of them I’m sure will present his or her view about what the employers want from the education of Hong Kong, and after their presentations, will have a discussion and will throw the discussion open to the floor. And I hope that through today’s discussion, the employers will state the view and as it is, convey the view to the other segments of the community. Last but not least I will also say one more thing, we employers not just expect something from the education sector, we employers after all would like to help in the education reform, because we are an important segment of the community and we do have some resources. So I would like to see that the business community as a whole will work closely together with the other segments in particular with the schools and with the educators to really make Hong Kong’s education something that we really like, which in the end would really help ourselves because 3
  4. 4. through upgrading the education of Hong Kong, through having better talents and manpower in Hong Kong, I’m sure it will benefit the business community as a result. So without further due , can I ask Miss Lisa Cheng to present to us, Lisa please. Ms. Lisa Cheng: OK, 主席先生,各位先生。首先我喺代表香港中华总商会, 好多谢大会今日提供呢一个机会比我哋作为商界嘅雇主可以 去讲述一吓,其实我哋对一啲大学嘅毕业生有啲唛嘢嘅要求 或者期望嘅。其实由于大会亦都好清楚话咗比我哋知呢,讲 嘅时间大概喺系五分钟以内,所以我哋准备咗个胶片,亦都 希望能够比较简明扼要,可以介绍到我哋一啲祈望同埋要求 嘅。其实喺我哋过往嘅经验里面呢,喺招聘一啲大学或者大 专毕业生嘅过程嘅时候,主要会有两种情况嘅,第一种情况 就系话我哋已经好清晰知道,我哋去聘请呢个毕业生到底我 哋喺想安排佢去一个唛嘢工作岗位;而第二种情况呢,就系 话我哋其实喺未肯定将会安排佢去边一个工作岗位,我哋通 常会聘请一啲大学嘅毕业生或者大专毕业生就会做一啲 Management Trainee , 或 者 喺 一 啲 Graduate Trainee 嘅 post,然后跟住喺个试用期里面再睇吓佢个工作表现,或者 究竟佢嘅长处喺系边一方面,再去作一个安排嘅。我亦都希 望喺就住呢两方面嘅情况,作一个好简单嘅说明,其实如果 一般情况底下,我哋已经系知道佢将会喺担任唛嘢工作岗位, 我哋都会系好有针对性咁去睇翻究竟个工作岗位嘅需要或者 要求或者条件系点样样嘅。比喻简单举个例子,比喻我哋喺 聘请一个 programmer,咁我哋都会好清晰呢就话,除咗一 啲基本嘅能力以外,我哋嘅重点系会睇吓,究竟佢系唔系具 备担任一个 programmer 嘅条件嘅,比喻好简单,佢系唔系 有能力去完成一啲简单嘅程式嘅发展工作呢?或者佢喺一啲 系统嘅发展概念上面系唔系完整呢?系唔系完备呢?咁呢种 情况呢我哋会将个重点呢摆咗喺个专业能力嘅考核嗰方面嘅, 但 系 喺 大 部 份 情 况 底 下 , 当 我 哋 喺 聘 请 一 个 Graduate Trainee 或者系一个 Management Trainee 嘅时候呢,其实 呢我哋会有一啲比较一般性嘅条件或者要求嘅,咁而呢啲条 件同要求,系可能同佢学业成绩系冇关系嘅,咁或者我哋睇 睇个胶片吓。其实我哋喺将嗰个要求喺分为 7 个细项嘅,其 4
  5. 5. 实第一个细项呢,头先梁生都会有提到嘞,就系话其实我哋 第一个最主要嘅要求,就系我哋希望毕业生喺具备好强嘅语 文能力嘅。咁我哋亦都分析过语文能力呢一个要求,其实主 要系分为两个方面啦,一个就系口语嘅语文能力,另外一个 就系书写嘅语文能力,咁口语嘅语文能力,我谂时至今日, 大家都会明白其实唔单止系讲广东话、英语,重会喺包括咗 普通话,咁所以喺应征嗰个过程里面呢,其实我哋都会去考 核一吓,究竟嗰应征者,系唔系具备一啲聆听,或者喺理解 一啲普通嘅普通话,或者基本普通话嘅能力,另外一方面就 系书写嘅能力,主要系包括中文同埋英文,除咗具备语文能 力之外呢,我哋都好有一个期望,就系话希望个学生能够喺 沟通能力嗰方面呢,系已经喺学校里面学到一定嘅技巧,其 实主要就系话,香港作为一个商业同埋金融服务业为主嘅社 会,我哋觉得每一个嘅毕业生,都应该要具备一个好强嘅沟 通能力、聆听嘅能力,可以去应付一啲重要嘅客户服务、推销 公关、企业内部沟通等等嘅工作。我哋好希望佢能够喺一啲嘅 会议上面,好清楚、好扼要、好简明咁表达到佢自己嘅意见, 亦都可以将一啲嘅问题可以好清晰有条理咁表达出嚟,咁呢 个系我哋第二主要嘅期望。第三点呢就系话,究竟嗰个毕业 生系唔系具备分析同埋思考嘅能力呢?其实喺分析同埋思考 能力里面呢,我哋主要觉得系分为几个部份嘅,第一佢能唔 能够独立去处理同埋去分析一啲工作,或者去分析一个嘅问 题呢?咁佢分析咗一个问题之后,了解咗个情况,究竟佢能 唔能够综合佢所攞到嘅资料呢,咁综合亦都系不足够嘅,因 为佢需要将佢综合咗嘅资料,总结出一啲需要去处理嘅问题, 咁到最后佢能唔能够去就住佢自己去进行嘅分析,同埋综合 总结而去提出一啲改善嘅意见,或者佢个人有创意嘅建议呢, 呢一方面,我哋亦都希望个毕业生系能够喺分析思考问题嘅 能力嗰度呢,系有一定嘅水平嚟。第四点呢就系一个团队嘅 精神嘞,咁其实我哋好深信就系一加一应该系等如二嘅,如 果每一个员工都系有一个团队嘅精神,咁而呀团队精神再简 言而之就系话呀,佢究竟愿唔愿意同人哋合作呢,究竟系唔 系乐意去一齐同人哋去承担呢一个责任呢,去完成一个工作 5
  6. 6. 嘅项目呢,咁我哋好希望毕业生能够喺学校里面,除咗学习 到课本上面嘅知识,亦都能够学习到点样去同人哋共事,点 样去同人哋合作,点样去同人哋沟通。第五点呢,我哋认为 每一个毕业生,必须要具备一个学习能力,咁其实睇呢四个 字呢,我哋觉得最低限度喺分为两个方面嘅,第一喺方面呢 就系,佢应该喺具备一个自学嘅能力,个所谓自学能力呢就 系话,佢究竟能唔能够自己去不断求进呢,不断去学习一啲 新嘅知识,而令到佢系具备一个竞争力,或者不断提升佢自 己个人嘅竞争力,从而可以喺工作上面发挥得更加好呢。咁 另外一个方面学习能力,就系话,佢究竟能唔能够学习一啲 工作上面嘅新知识呢,或者佢呀,比喻雇主会提供一啲训练 俾佢嘅时候,究竟佢嘅吸收能力有几高呢,咁呢个我哋系认 为学习能力呢喺基本上系分为两个方面嘅。第六点,虽然我 哋系将佢排到好后,其实我哋认为喺相当重要嘅一点嚟嘅, 就系话,究竟个毕业生嘅品德同埋诚信系点呢,咁我哋好深 信喺学校里面,其实除咗课本上面嘅知识,最重要就系学到 一个做人嘅态度同埋品德嘅观念,所以我哋认为品德同埋诚 信,都系一个好重要嘅条件同埋要求。当然,到咗最后一个 部份就系一个所谓嘅专业能力,呢个所谓专业能力,其实就 头先亦都已经简单介绍过,咁我哋对于唔同岗位嘅招聘工作, 其实我哋都会定咗一啲唔同嘅条件嘅,咁而呢啲咁嘅条件呢, 亦都好牵涉到究竟岗位将来喺要做啲唛嘢嘅,如果佢喺做一 啲营销嘅工作,我哋会要求佢能够具备一个营销嘅能力,好 识得同人沟通嘅,好识得将佢嘅意见去表达出嚟同埋去说服 其他人嘅。如果佢系去做一啲电脑嘅工作,我哋就希望佢具 备一啲 I.T.方面嘅专业知识,咁其实呢,我哋将我哋嘅要求, 系用七个小点呢喺呀分别列咗出嚟啦,亦都希望能够将呢啲 小点套入香港整个教育制度里面,喺而令到香港嘅毕业生系 更具备竞争力嘅,多谢各位。 Mr. Antony Leung: Thank you Lisa, now, can I ask K.S. to present to us. Mr. KS Yeung: Thank you Chairman, I represent the Employers’ Federation and just would like to pass on some of our views. To start with, employers’ expectations are basically very simple. We rely on 6
  7. 7. the schools and universities to give us qualified and competent persons meeting the business needs, I guess just as simple as that. And we also believe the ultimate aim of education is to develop a person. Now at various stages of education system, graduates are made available to the labour market. Employers search suitably qualified graduates to meet their manpower needs, such as Form 3 students drop out after the nine years compulsory education, they will finally end up in the labour market, but our expectation of a Form 5 graduate would be totally different from our expectation from a university graduate. Likewise, graduates from vocational training are getting into the labour market, again, we do have different expectations from those vocational training graduates. Then we have Form Seven graduates who do not want to pursue tertiary education, then of course, university graduates, so at various stages, we do have different type of graduates coming into the labour market, so we cannot actually give the Education Commission of what the employer wants from a person. We most probably have to go into more detail talking to various schools and universities on what we want. So we cannot actually give a generic description of the type of people that we want, likewise, what the education system can provide. Current system as we can see appears to focus heavily on training for examination achievements, and tends to ignore the development of the individual, so we hope that the aims of education can put a bit more emphasis on the development of the person. Like for instance then, basic ethical training for I would say a Form three graduate all the way to a university graduate. Schools and Universities often claim that they are providing education to the students and not to train students for the employers. Nonetheless almost all of them will end up in the labour market, certainly with the exception of a few, such as people that they never have to work, so majority of them will be end up in the labour market. Some people say that they’ll go on to research and yet it is a sort of employment, if you go to research and join universities. The education system is in reality providing quality human resources to employers. Schools and universities should prepare students that at an earlier stage to ensure a smooth integration to the business community. I must emphasize that they should prepare them at an earlier stage. You haven’t seen much in the schools and universities to prepare in particular in secondary schools to prepare students for the labour market. The education system is not a factory production line producing students according to a mode. The way we see the education blueprint should be part of an overall blueprint for the manpower requirement and development for Hong Kong. Hence, vocational training or vocational education should be an indispensible part of the academic system. We haven’t seen much actually talking about this in the consultative paper. The bureau actually also ask to express a bit of our views on employers’ expectation of graduates. I’ve touched on and they also would like us to express 7
  8. 8. a bit on the cooperation between the education and the business sector. In fact employers are far too delighted to work closer with the schools and the parents. We actually haven’t seen much cooperation from the schools and the parents in getting to know the business sector. We try very hard to offer opportunities for the universities and schools and arrange business visits and industrial visits. We haven’t really seen a lot of these going on. Often you find in universities that in the last, it will rush when the graduate approaching final years, then they begin to approach employers and ask employers to conduct career talks, and then to conduct areas that are sort of introduction of the business to the graduates. I quite believe it’s far far too late at that stage. So I hope, in the consultative paper, that will be a bit more to talk about, how the business sector be able to integrate with the schools, and I’m quite sure the Federation of Employers would be too pleased to render assistance and also arrange employers bodies, actually to work with schools and also the parents’ associations to get them to know a bit more about what’s going on in the workforce. So, this is the kind of views we’ll be able to present in a short five minutes and would like to actually kick off discussions later on and to invite views. I see that there’s a lot of, a lot of employers are down there, and your input would be certainly welcomed. Thank you Chairman. Mr. Antony Leung: Thank you K.S. I think the school sector would be too pleased to hear what you said. The employers are very willing to work together with the education sector to improve the education in Hong Kong. Can I now call upon Jeffrey Lam from the Federation of Hong Kong Industries to present to us, Jeffrey. Mr. Jeffery Lam: 主席,各界嘅朋友,你哋好。今日好高兴,能够代表工业总 会,更多谢教统会,邀请我哋嚟参加今日嘅谘询会,等我哋 有机会表达对教育目标谘询文件嘅一些感想同埋意见。其实 正如其他社会各界一样,工商界同埋雇主对香港嘅教育发展 都非常关心,亦抱有好大嘅期望,我本身身为雇主,我亦都 好清楚,好明白人力资源对企业以至整体经济发展嘅重要性。 办好香港嘅教育,唔单喺可以为工商界提供质素高嘅人才, 提升我哋香港竞争力,更重要就系可以提高香港人口整体嘅 质素,巩固香港国际都市嘅地位。工商界方面嚟讲呢,而家 香港嘅教育制度,确实系存在咗有啲不足之处,实在有检讨 同埋作出改革嘅必要,过去我哋大家响不同嘅场合,已经反 覆指出教育制度各种弊端,以及近来我哋睇倒毕业生嘅水准 下降嘅情况,我哋都系有所担心。但今日,我唔系响呢度打 8
  9. 9. 算再重覆呢个论点,但系我想强调教育水平嘅下降,系有好 大嘅程度系由于教育制度跟唔上社会同埋经济嘅发展,过去 几十年,香港社会经济经历咗好大嘅转变,但系我哋嘅教育 制度,冇好有自由度咁去适应调节呢个变化,随住教育制度 嘅普及化,以及经济发展越嚟越依赖新嘅科技,我哋必须改 革现在嘅制度,去配合呢啲巨大嘅变化同埋需要。要解决香 港教育嘅问题,我哋非常认同教统会嘅做法,即系先确立一 套明确嘅教育目标,然后依照呢个目标,定立相应嘅改革措 施,就谘询文件内,为不同学习阶段所建议嘅各项教育目标, 我哋认为已经考虑到,考虑得非常周全。而且,好大程度上 符合工商界同埋大家嘅期望,我哋认为应该可以得到社会广 泛嘅支持。接住落嚟教统会嘅工作应该系定出各项改革缓急 嘅次序,以及制定一套推行嘅方案,使到呢个教育目标可以 尽早实现。谘询文件内,教统会提出两项实践教育目标嘅原 则,分别喺以学生为本,同埋在过程中实践。我哋完全赞同 呢两个题目,环顾我哋周围嘅先进国家,以学生为本嘅教育 方式其实已经实行咗好耐,成绩大家都有目共睹,呢啲国家 嘅学生,大多数都系主动学习,语文能力高、组织、创作嘅能 力亦都非常之强,我哋睇翻我哋嘅香港,绝大部份嘅学校, 仍然系采用个传统嘅教育方式,老师就响度讲,学生就响度 听,系唔系听就冇人知。呢一种单调嘅学习模式,系好难令 到学生好有兴趣,好投入咁去学习,咁如果佢喺唔投入去学 习,点可以训练到佢哋嘅创作力,呢样系我觉得非常之重要。 我哋认为推行以学生为本嘅教育,我哋应该喺课程、考试制 度、语文训练同埋资师训练方面,要尽快作出一啲改革。香港 学校个课程过份偏重考试,一路以来,我哋认为将中、小学 嘅课程重新调整,提高学生对学习嘅兴趣,另外一方面呢, 我哋应该将中文、将英文、数学呢三个基本嘅科目列为中、小 学嘅核心课程,增加学习节数,同埋应该减少其他好似地理 呀、历史呀、科学科目嘅课程内容。将课程重新设计,注重训 练学生嘅分析能力、组织能力,同埋解决问题嘅能力。与此同 时,我哋应该加强资讯科技嘅训练,使到学生懂得利用资料, 利用资讯科技,例如可以透过互联网,搜集对掌握课程有帮 9
  10. 10. 助嘅资料,除此之外呢,我哋应该将课程多元化,培养学生 身心嘅全面发展,过去忽略咗嘅科目,例如体育、音乐、艺术 同埋话剧等等呢,我哋应该都要加强。我睇倒有好多香港嘅 毕业生,佢哋考试成绩都非常之好,但亦都好多,因为缺乏 咗其他校外科目嘅发展,佢哋系考唔到入去外国嘅好学校, 因为外国嘅大学觉得佢哋唔系一个全面嘅发展,所以我哋觉 得呢,响呢一方面嘅发展亦都非常之重要,为咗适应呢啲课 程嘅转变,我哋亦应该改进香港嘅考试制度。第一,考试应 该以评核学生全面学习能力为基础,尤其是学生语文同埋沟 通技巧。第二,考试方式应该从新设计,尽量鼓励学生以创 新方式解决问题,减少好似我哋讲话「背死书」咁样。第三, 评核方式应该可以以学生嘅习作取代传统嘅笔试,学生嘅语 文基础对佢哋求职同埋求,同埋升学都系非常之重要,我哋 认为而家嘅学校语文训练,大部份系唔系咁理想,学校应该 参考其他先进国家,改进嗰啲学校嘅语文教学方式,我哋发 觉有好多香港嘅国际学校,佢哋嘅语文训练都做得几好,佢 哋系比较注重培养学生嘅阅读能力,我哋认为其他嘅学校, 应该仿效呢个方法,而家香港大部份嘅学校,如果系嚟读英 文嘅课程呢,我相信一年睇唔到两本书,但系如果你喺嗰啲 国际学校呢,差唔多一个礼拜,或者两个礼拜呢,佢哋都系 要求啲学生睇一本书嘅,呢个方面系证实到非常之好嘅。要 成功推行我刚才提到嘅改革措施呢,教师嘅质素呢,亦都系 非常之重要嘅,我哋应该为所有教师提供培训,使到佢哋尽 快适应以学生为本嘅教学环境,主要系为佢哋提供协助同埋 支援,使到佢哋尽快可以应用资讯科技于学上,使学生获益。 最后,我想讲学校过去嘅道德教育同埋纪律训练,有好多方 面都系做得唔好嘅,我发觉部份嘅毕业生,响处事同埋对人 嘅态度呢都出现问题。香港嘅学校将来可以加强培训学生同 埋教育,学生教育同埋纪律,最近我哋,即系香港讲呢个 「和路迪士尼园」,和路迪士尼园响呢个外国呢,我哋可以睇 倒所有嘅人都系好友善,但系而家香港社会系出现咗一个问 题,香港好多人都系好冇礼貌,所以呢,我希望如果响呢方 面做多啲工夫,唔好讲话净喺迪士尼园,我相信好多有吸引 10
  11. 11. 力嘅投资,都会因为呢个改变,会嚟到香港嘅,多谢各位! Mr. Antony Leung: Thank you Jeffrey for giving us many specific and concrete advices. I think I’ll keep Irving to the last, because he is one of us, meaning one of the Education Commission members, so can I ask Andrew Webster representing the international business community to talk to us. Mr. Andrew Webster: Thank you very much. Educators, employers and students would share the responsibilities to ensure that the future employment needs of Hong Kong are met. Learning is a continuous process and won’t stop when formal education ends, and all parties need to have a clear understanding of the needs. We owe to ourselves as an employer and educator to ensure that we have the appropriately developed manpower to further the prosperity of Hong Kong. We owe it to the student and they owe it to themselves to provide for the future. But what are the needs and how can the education system provide these. As an employer, we need now and in the future, a wide range of skill and talents and values including honesty, integrity and fairness. I’ll suggest that the future prosperity of Hong Kong lies in service sector, as manufacturers moved to countries with less costly labour and real estate costs. Clearly, we need business managers, he would probably be high quality graduate and future leader of the industry. We need to ensure that the universities of Hong Kong are providing the raw material for employers to develop. The basic educational requirements of the high potential high flyers of course is fluency in Chinese and English and a high level of computer literacy and numeracy. With the possible exception of IT, in the main, the university and polytechnices are delivering these today. The competition is fierce, with the Chinese and Western universities also deliver high quality graduates. If Hong Kong is to achieve leading status, we need students with much greater degree of creativity, lateral thinking, analytical ability, diversity, independent and collective problem solving, questioning, reasoning and very importantly customer focus and the ability to manage people. Rote learning will not deliver the quality managers require and the education system will need to encourage individuality. An example of that is many of the students come to us for interview and they rehearse and rehearse and rehearse. This is the case as we interviewed three people last week, all of them were from the same Hockey Club in the University. One of the things they also need to prepare to do is to challenge or question authority and the status quo. But, as I said earlier, employers have the responsibility to participate in this process. This can be done in a variety of ways, from business placement for students and teachers to discussions with the 11
  12. 12. syllabus developers. We should also stress the importance of the need, for students to take the lead in managing their own careers and a high degree of self help or development is to be encouraged. I would like to single out one essential technical ingredient which I refer to before and that’s IT. Communication system, efficient way of working and management information, are all driven by IT, and it’s essential to tomorrow’s world. However, not everyone is, or need to be a high flyer. But, they all needed to be a high achiever in their own field. As an employer in the service sector, approximately eighty percent of our staff are non- managerial, high valued sale assistants. It goes without saying that we do not need our sales force to be graduates constantly striving to reach the top, in fact, this would be highly undesirable. We do need educated, commited, smart, presentable, socially interactive staff who should be literate and numerate, bi-lingual to a certain degree, industrious and enjoy the job that they are employed to do. It doesn’t just apply to retail like ourselves but also apply to banks, hotels and restaurants and even the immigration staff in the new airport, that are quite often the first person that the visitor, would meet. There we should probably add the taxi driver to the list. This leads to believe that schools and colleges need to refocus on education appropriately. If I can use English as an example, it is concerned to hear that the level of written and spoken English is falling, the decline should be arrested, not because of Hong Kong’s historical links with Britain, and not because we need our sales assistants and our hotel receptionists to do their jobs there, but because English is the international business language, and the basic understanding of English at all levels of the industry will increase Hong Kong’s competitive advantage. We don’t need fluency, fitness for purpose is the appropriate term, and this will enable operators in the service sector to create appropriate dialogue with their customers. I focus on the extremes of the employment sector from leaders through to first line staff, and exaggerate the situation to make a point clear between the CEOs and semi-skilled workers, we do need continue to supply highly qualified health practitioners, teachers and middle managers. And this also require special attention. One final point, the Education Department should refocus on vocational training and learning. Current methods are out- dated and unfocused, and the contents of the programmes were often not in line with the requirements of employers. While we all have views and opinions on last week’s budget, there is only one financial secretary. There are, and will continue to be thousands and thousands of service sector employment opportunities, and let’s ensure that in additional to providing Mr. Tsang’s successor, our education system also delivers the best mechanics, the best sales staff in the world. 12
  13. 13. Thank you. Mr. Antony Leung: Thank you Andrew for giving us some very practical advices. Now can I ask Alan Lung, Vice Chairman from the Human Resources Committee of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce to speak to us , Alan. Mr. Alan Lung: I started my last encounter with the Education Commission, at a much smaller session at the Hong Kong U, Mr. Tai was there and Professor Cheng was there. I started off with a very bitter complaint, bitterly complaining about the treatment my six years old son is getting at school. And then a a few days later, I met Professor Hayhoe in the audience, I made the same complaint, you know, bitterly complained about the stuff duck treatment my son was getting, and in a few days later, I had the chance to bump into Mr. Young who is sitting there, said the same thing. So at the end of that consultation session, Professor Cheng was saying, some people in the audience is getting a bit too emotional, may be you should focus on what we would like to hear, and that is actually what the business community expects from the education sector. So this time and since then my wife has signed the join declaration for the parents, so I figure I’ve done all I can as a parent, so this time I will probably behave myself and focus. So I only have four points to make which is very short. The first point is a clarification. Although Mr. James Tien who at this floor I think a month ago said that he preferred a more elitist approach. I think the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce always support the more egalitarian approach to education in Hong Kong, at least within the HR Committee. In the past thirty years mainly from less well-off families have successfully used education as a means for social and economic advancement. And in a recent report published by, actually commissioned by the Education and Manpower Bureau and done by Coopers & Lybrand, actually pointed out that the decline in the standard of education, may be the direct result of the overly restictive, command and control mode imposed by the bureaucracy. And it was not an upward mobility actually made very good economic sense, and as pointed out by the Coopers and Lybrand’s report, the decline in education standard is probably a direct result of the bureaucratic structure, and not a result of the sort of more egalitarian approach. And this is why we were very encouraged to see the newly appointed Director of Education has taken very positive steps, at least reported by the media, in facing this Cooper and Lybrand’s report. I, as I see it, up to 70 to 80 percent of the Cooper and Lybrand’s report was actually considered and adopted, so personally I felt it was very encouraged to see that. Point number two, on the aims of education, as outlined by the Education Commission, we have nothing to say, you know, what can we say, we support it. And, one question that was asked is whether the aims are too high, I, personally, I don’t believe it’s 13
  14. 14. too high, in the context of global competition. It must aim high and then you may achieve 50 percent, 70 percent or 80 percent, so the aim is not too high, that’s my response. On the third point, on the employers’ expectations, of what we expect from employees, my philosophies of what kind of employees businesses want is shaped by, by myself working as an employee working for an advertising agency, for 10 years, in Hong Kong and in Singapore. And I worked all the way up from a junior what they called account executive, all the way up to a general manager of Singapore office, in 1985, that was more than 10 years ago. We, employers expect loyalty, and not just loyalty to the company, but loyalty to himself or herself, his family, his country and his fellow citizens. People who sort of display this sort of traits are less likely to hop jobs for 500 dollars increase; and would choose long term success instead of 500 dollars salary increase. The other traits we look for is ambition, and not just ambitious for himself, but ambitious for his company too. The third we look for I see it as really as a total package is intellectual, honesty, professional, reliable, creative, willing to take risk, and willing to learn. If you were to ask me what are the two most important factors out of this sort of package, I think it’s being professional and being reliable, those were the two most important traits I would look for. One, two, three, four,...five, the fifth point is to nuture, willing to teach other people. Hong Kong is increasingly becoming a knowledge – based society, and, employees would have to be willing not just to learn but to help others within the team or within the company, to take up knowledge. And as an employee moved to the very senior level as I did through the ranks in Ogilvy and Mather, he or she would be expected to build companies or at least build departments, using his knowledge. And the sixth final point of employers’ expectation is citizenship, and not just in terms of the, seeing himself as the citizen of Hong Kong SAR of China if you like, but as a citizen of the world. So, those are the expectations from employers. The third point I want to make is actually, I asked this very embarrassing question at a Tripartite Conference a year ago, to some government official who’s not there, he is a colleague of Raymond. It’s the weakness in the technical engineering education and vocational training which was mentioned by Andrew earlier. I’m not advocating that Hong Kong should produce if you like “Androids”, designed to compete against Korean made “Androids”, Singapore made “Androids”, Shanghai made “Androids”, and so on. I’m not advocating that. I also recognize that the consultation paper said the academic system and an exit path would be taken care of in stage two, but I want to point this out, point out this weakness or as I said it in a year ago, a policy blind-spot which provokes some very defensive response, from some government officials. It’s that if we don’t talk about this aim that we’ve forgotten about this policy blind-spot, everything would be forgotten as we move 14
  15. 15. down the road. Frankly, I’m quite worry that the consultation paper only mentioned that knowledge, about knowledge society and education IT education and in the passing, and it tends to focus on the human aspect of education which I do not disagree. But, it seems that the document shows a lack of interest in the technical and engineering education area. And this is very unlike, you know, people on the circles, where people like Professor Tien Chiang Lin ( 田 长 霖 ), who’s clearly concerned about the shortage of technical and scientific talents in Hong Kong, and the mistake Hong Kong made in upgrading all the polytechnics into universities. You have, you train generals, no soldiers. So , when you talk to Singaporeans, Singaporean says to us you have made a mistake. Singapore stick to polytechnics and their universities system. Our main concern with the Education Commission’s consultation paper at this stage are, how the Education Commission intended to upgrade the technical and engineering standards in Hong Kong. What does our future education system intend to do for those who’ll not make it through the, the sort of grammar school system which we have inherited from Britain. One question is about the VTC which I should have raised it with the Chairman, is the VTC actually under the control of the Education Commission? (_.No...No_) I personally take the view that producing rounded individual, as described in the Education Commission paper, is only 50 percent of the solution. The other 50 percent comes with providing good people, good quality people, with the skills that make them function well in the society that they can make a living. I know I’m not supposed to ask embarrassing questions here. Because government officials were in the audience. Sometimes get very defensive when confronted with this kind of questions but I would like to know that why such an important area has escaped the attention of the Education Commission as well as the Education and Manpower Bureau. Is it because our great wise leader Mr. Tung has missed something or is it because, our Chairman Antony Leung here doesn’t have the political muscle to bring the VTC under his control. I mean I don’t know. Or is it because the Education Commission people like Cheng Kai Ming has personal bias against technical education. I would also like to ask what changes has been made with the VTC since the SQW Report published in 1996. I know that they are holding a party at the Jockey Club right now, but as you know, hardly is VTC justified spending nearly 5 percent of Hong Kong’s education budget which is 2.1 billion and deliver so little and, quite frankly, you look at the VTC, if you analyse the situation in terms of three boxes, one box is resources, the other box is activities and the third box is the output services, right, you know the resources is 2.1 billion, activities we don’t know, because it is a black box. They are not government departments, therefore they are not answerable to whatever we ask, and then quite frankly the output is not a lot, things we see like hiring a D2 grade staff to start a 15
  16. 16. consultancy service to compete with small businesses like me. I don’t like the ouput at all. Why should they spend government money to compete with us. I sell business tools you know, software tools, I am the kind of company the government is supposed to help. Why do they start a , use 2.1 billion to support people like VTC to compete against us. You know, I mean, even the HKPC who is sitting in the audience, help us and work with us, you know. In terms of implementation, the last and final point, is in terms of implementation we had, you know, the last chairman of the Education Commission Rosie Young who used to come to the HR Committee of HKGCC, the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, to present ECR6, ECR 7 and ...bla...bla...and so on. She always said, this is not going to happen, because of the lack of resources, bla bla bla ........................ and so on. So, things never happen, right. So the point is many Education Commission reports have failed in the past because of resources, lack of resources, lack of bla bla bla ..........., lack of political goodwill, lack of implementation skills. Well, I was trained in the business sector and wasn’t trained in the education sector, and I was trained in a very tough business, advertising agency, my boss only cares about the output, and we see correct output as evidence of correct input. So, I would personally be keenly observing whether the Education Commission will actually make it this time. I ask the same question to Mr. Leung, Mr. Leung doesn’t sound too confident, he said may be 70 percent, so if we come up to 90 percent I would be very happy, because I think the Education Commission Report, the initiatives are well worth supporting. Thank you very much. Mr. Antony Leung: Well. Thank you Alan. Let me just clarify one point before I ask Mr. Pescod to talk about his views. The VTC is not under the control of the Education Commission; actually the Education Commission does not control anything indeed, we can actually coordinate, and influence the outcome of many things, including the vocational training and that actually indeed, will be one of the areas that the Education Commission is going to examine, but in the current review we will be also looking at how the provision of vocational training in Hong Kong should be at least reviewed if not reformed. One of the issues that we are going to look at is whether 6 percent of the age of the youth cohort entering the VTC is enough. Because when we think about Hong Kong we provide 18 percent of the age cohort university places and 6 percent in the VTC. Contrast it with Singapore, Singapore offers a different economic structure but have 20 percent of the age cohort entering university but 40 percent of the age cohort going to vocational training. And the other thing that we have to think about is at our school level, in the school sector we focus probably a bit too much on the knowledge but not enough on the skills training, particularly IT and probably not enough in attitude 16
  17. 17. as well. So these are all the things that the EC will look at, but in reply to your direct question whether we control the VTC, we don’t control them. But I believe we can influence them. Mr. Alan Lung: How much? Mr. Antony Leung: Well, I think in terms of influence not so much. But I believe with the support of the government, and in particular the Chief Executive we can achieve a lot of things without really controlling them. Now, the next speaker is actually from the biggest employer of Hong Kong but hopefully getting smaller, and the smaller the better. Now Mr. Pescod from the Civil Service Bureau to talk about what the government wants of education in Hong Kong. Mr. D W Pescod: Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen. How do I follow that as a bureaucrat, I felt almost bound to defend the government, but of course I am not here to do that. So I won’t. I have had all the benefit of listening to the other panellists, I think our position is probably identical to theirs. We want the same people, we want more of them, we want the same talents, we just need more people. To put that into perspectives and notwithstanding downsizing and freezing and the equivalent, we employ currently 189,000 staff. Every year, for the last ten years we recruited between five and eight thousand staff last year alone, we recruited 7,100 staff into 360 ranks and 66 departments and we had given 303,000 applications for those 7,000 posts. Competition is tough, it is not easy to get into the civil service. Notwithstanding the rumours that it is all easy job, it’s not. Recruitment of people is at all levels from those who left school with basic Form 3 qualification of any to experienced people, university, post-graduate or professional qualifications. So whatever we want, frankly, we should be able to influence, not just because we are the biggest employers, but we also control the Education Department and we should be able to control the Vocational Training Council. I leave that one aside. There are certain constraints. First and foremost, since the transition, of course we have the Basic Law. What do we look for in that context, as stated in Article 99 that recruits must be permanent residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and they must be dedicated to their duties and responsibilities and responsible to the Government of the Region. Of course, there are provisions to enable us to bring in foreign nationals, but recruitment from that category is very very small and requires special permission from Civil Service Bureau. Basic Law goes further than defining certain characteristics it actually sets guidance on the nature of appointment and promotion of public servants. Article 103 states that appointment and promotion of public servants shall be on the basis of qualification, experience and ability. I think that is important, we are not just looking at 17
  18. 18. examination results here. The constitution requires further than that, people must understand that. The Article also provides a system of recruitment & employment including body set-up such as the Public Service Commission. Now we recently announced a packages of fairly major reform measures. This will present quite a challenge both to civil service, but also to people wishing to join the civil service in the future. I’m not going to get into the debate on that in the evening but I would encourage every body to comment on it. It will affect you either directly through the services we provide or indirectly through perhaps friends or colleagues who may in future join us in the civil service. We are going to be more open, we are going to be more aggressive, we want a flow of people between the private and the public sectors because of the skills that they have, we need, little bit of warning there. But looking to a more general context of the seminar this evening, what do we look for in the people we have recruited and we expect to continue to recruit in the future, well, fundamental commitment to serve the community. By this we mean that our staff must be motivated, by the desire to help the community, to develop, to improve. It comes back to the point that Andrew was making, you know our Immigration Officers, the people that you see first when you come into the territary and police officers, the people you deal with when you have a parking ticket. These are the people that are serving the community and they have to do it often in the most difficult situation. So, commitment to serve. We are also looking for integrity, a clear understanding of what is right, what is wrong, and a strong commitment to uphold that is right. We have a very keen civil service by any international standards you wish to apply. We intend to keep it that way and ask changes such as they are to ensure that the best way is to bring the right people in, the people who understand our standards and are willing to work with them. These traits are particularly relevant to the disciplined services, but frankly, we regard them as essential to recruit into any department or grade in the civil service. What else are we looking for, we are looking for people who are versatile, people who are able to take on more than one skill, be prepared to develop their skills throughout their career. We do of course provide training for that but, the initiative must come from the individual. Even within government and it might surprise some of our private sector penalists to hear this, we are moving into the direction of multiskilling and we are moving into a direction of requiring our staff to have more than one ability. Simple examples, recently we took a very interesting step to break down the functional differences between workman posts and clerical posts, there’s no difference nowadays. Likewise, our secretarial staff increasingly being encouraged to become familiar with word processing, dictaphones skill, being able to deal with English and Chinese processing, all these multi- skilling techniques, at the bottom levels right up to the top. Many areas, in particular the discipline services are looking for 18
  19. 19. those people who can work in teams. It’s one thing that didn’t really come out from the other speakers, but it’s quite important, for our large discipline services, the people who have the individual skills are prepared to work together as a collective for the furtherment of the objectives of the unit or group they are working. Quite an important skill not one that’s come naturally to many people, and indeed, a lot of the initial training for police officers, fire service officers, is to develop those skills, that something we take for ourselves. I would share comments made by at least two of our panellists that in an increasingly complex system, we must have staff who understand modern technology. In a higher level grade such as engineers, accountants, chemists, computer literacy is now the norm, is a requirement. But even at the lower levels, widespread use of computers by clerical staff in such areas as licensing, even recruits to junior grade needs skills in these areas. Hong Kong has almost an unique system of government, and because of that, it need to be able to recruit the best people. This is particularly true to the executive and administrative officer grades, and in this area, similar to the officers of the discipline services, we’re looking for people with leadership qualities, certain strength of character, resilience and frankly, political acumen. These I understand are not really quantifiable skills, they are not skills it can teach, personality traits perhaps. Nevertheless, it can be developed through participation and team sports, through involvement in organised activities such as scouts or junior police quad, and through travel. People with these attributes are not only intelligent in academic sense, but they are, to use the phrase I heard in this evening in more than one occasion, “well-rounded”. These are the people who at school and university, who are involved in extra- curricular activities. In our experience, doesn’t really matter what the activities they choose, from the debating society to ballroom dancing, football team to mountain climbings, even hockey teams, doesn’t matter. By stretching themselves, opening themselves up to new experiences, these people learn how to work as a team, to overcome obstacles, stand up to set-backs. They learn skills which they will need everyday, in any rewarding job. Of course, we’re looking for an ability to apply these skills, in a practical and systematic manner. And finally, in alignment with our commitment to be a bilingual, tri-literate civil service, we are looking for candidates proficient in English and Chinese, and nowadays that does not just means Cantonese, means Putunghua as well, as that it’s increasingly important in our much more frequent contact with mainland. We believe the civil service is no difference to any other employer, we want the best, most suitable and able people to join the civil service and serve the community. In our move towards greater efficiency and productivity, our staff must not be people who are inflexible, not prepare to develop themselves, who see the civil service as little more than a nine-to-five job. Such people need not apply. We’re 19
  20. 20. looking for people with imagination, talent, creativity. For these people, we believe we can offer a bright prospect for a rewarding and challenging working life. Like the other employers representatives here, my basic message is that, passing exams is not sufficient, children need to have a much wider educational experience, and for that, it’s not just what they learn in the classroom. Thank you. Mr. Antony Leung: Thank you very much, Duncan, and I think your conclusion or summary is particularly suitable for our reform here. Last but not least, can I ask Irving Koo, our member of Education Commission to share his views with us, please. Mr Irving Koo: Thank you Antony, I have not actually prepared a speech, and in view of the time, I’ll be very brief. I’m actually wearing two hats, I’m both a member of the Education Commission and I’m also a member of the business sector. If I may actually try to, sort of, bring our thinking process forward into the implementation phase, although we are not talking about implementation today, but I don’t think we can actually avoid that issue, because there are issues that we have to think about, you know, before we actually, you know, could actually take this discussion about the aims of education forward, and some members in the audience would have heard me, you know, talk about this analogy, and that is we very often talk about, thinking beyond the box and dismantling the box, and I still remember the discussion, actually Anthony Tong representing the Education Department was on the panel that time. And then we said, you know, the momentum for change has to come from the school sector itself, it has to come from the teachers, and then, one of the teachers raises his hand but then we are operating so much within the box, you know, what about the box, what constitutes the box? I think the existing policy, practices, the control system, the curriculum, the assessment system, all those constitute the box, and so long as we do not dismantle the box, how can we, how can we actually allow our momentum to actually break out and actually form itself into a movement. So I think, I just want to, sort of, throw points out for, members of the audience who are mostly coming from the private sector or the business sector, and to help us think about how do we actually think beyond the box, and how do we actually dismantle the box, because people in business are supposed to be good at problem-solving, and we are supposed to be also pragmatic, so, so let see if we can actually come up with a few points. There are three major things I do need to deal with here. First of all is, how do we actually tailor education in Hong Kong for Hong Kong’s needs. Because if you look at the aims of education produced by the Education Commission, we are in the way operating within the box, if you think about it. Because we talk about kindergarten, or pre-school, we talk about primary, we talk about secondary school, and we talk about tertiary. So we 20
  21. 21. actually follow the box, we actually follow the sequence as if that is something that is cast in stone, I mean it is something that is right for Hong Kong. But is it actually right for Hong Kong, and, two of the speakers, Alan Lung and, Andrew Webster, before him, actually talk about technical education. So what about technical education? I think our education system is primarily following the grammar school approach, isn’t it, everybody must finish at least Form 5, but is that really the case? I mean in, in, in certain European countries, they have a very successful, you know, technical training programme, where, you know, people leave school, leave high school may be like after our Form 3, and they go into learning a trade, and they become very respectable members of the community. But we don’t have a system like that. And then in mainland China, I think, I think as matter of policy, they want 60 percent of the high schools to be pre-vocational or technical by nature, but we don’t have that sort of things in Hong Kong but why must all our youngsters going through a grammar school? So that, that is one of it, and then somebody actually mention it, now if you look at our tertiary sector being able to capture 18 percent of our high school graduates, 18 percent, and then another 8 percent of them probably may go overseas to further their studies, another 7-10 percent are caught by various sub-degrees including those provided by VTC, so all total we probably catch about 35 percent of them, you know, with some sort of further training, after high school. Versus about 65 percent in Singapore, and, and I just learnt from a French delegation the other day, 80 percent in the case of France. So is, is there something missing there? So I, I’m very happy that, that Mr. Lung mentioned, you know, VTC, I mean, I don’t think we can actually look at only the school sector, and fooling ourselves, that there is actually another sector which need, we must actually look at, so that is the first thing. Second thing is resources, I always tell, members of the, of the education sector that the pie would not grow forever, you know, the pie is already quite a large pie so far as the recurrent expenditure of the Hong Kong government is concerned, and so if you actually redistribute resources, so one slice of the pie become larger and larger, another slice will, will inevitably become smaller, so, so how do we redistribute our resources. Now, if you talk about cutting down the class sizes, does that mean actually we have to employ more teachers, or are we actually talking about, may be, retailoring our curriculum, so that some of the sort of less important courses or subjects could be left out of the curriculum, so that we can retrain teachers to focus on the more important subjects and so on and so forth. You are talking about redistributing resources between sectors and you might also be talking about redistributing or reallocation resources within the individual sectors, so that is something we actually need to think about. And what about free education, why should education be totally free because if you think about the parents spending 21
  22. 22. thousands of dollars every month in private tutorials. Could that money be actually channel back into the mainstream education? Why must nine year’s education be totally free. I mean these are the questions we need to ask. So, that’s the second point. The third point is resistance. Whenever there is change that there is going to be resistance. I will be very brief here, there are three major, you know, group of stakeholders, first of all, teachers. They have resistance obviously because the teachers keep complaining that people including the EC always, add new initiatives. New initiatives mean new work, mean more work. We never take things off the list. Right, so they are actually suspicious. They said ah ah, more more initiatives, so is more work, you know, when is it going to stop we already complain about workload, how can we ever, we know, come back to focus on teaching. So they have resistance. We have to actually convince them. Next, parents’ divergent views. Those who are actually concerned about career are concerned about standard. So I would not allow dilution and also my kid, you know, is bright enough to go into a good school. Another view is too much exam, you know too much homework. They are not happy. So we should have less of those and should have happier school life and so on so forth. So how do we actually balance these two views. Finally policy makers of which I do not count myself, we are advisers to the government and policy makers are the government. I mean they hold the purse strings. Now what are their resistance? Standards. OK if you talk about divergence, talking about giving more diversity, what about standards for the whole of Hong Kong? Our F.5 graduates must be as good as those from the UK, so there must be exams. You know, otherwise how do we know they are good enough to be F.5 and so on. Right, and then of course what the policy-makers always have, certain philosophies guiding the policies. One of them is equality. We must actually have equal opportunity of education. So therefore you know we must actually give at least the opportunity to study up to F.3 and so on so forth. But you know what about, you know, the difference in inclinations, and differences in intrinsic capabilities, and so on, how do we actually build divergence or diversity into our school system. Again, you know, a very good subject and that we need to think about. Finally, what can private sector, what can a business sector do. I think there are two major things. One I think we can actually help the government, help organizations like the EC and through them, the policy-makers, a lot by being specific. In other words, you know, I mean grumbling, complaining is not going to help. OK, I mean, obviously you can do a bit of that but at the end of the day, tell us specifically you are going to employ people who will became rank and file staff. What is the basic, you know, entry requirement that you need for people who are destined to become executives. Tell us very specifically what do you want. And then let the professionals find the solutions. For 22
  23. 23. example, you know talking to friends in the business sector, in fact, many of them do support Chinese as the medium of instruction but I don’t think that voices very easily heard, you know, why don’t we stand up and say, yeah, I think that is in the main correct, but so long as government also pour resources behind the training of English as a language and so on. I mean that kind of views must be heard loud and clear. Secondly, I think there are something very practical that the business sector can do. For example, if you have certain requirements in terms of English what about the private sector coming up with its own entry English examination like a professional English test, which people care, people of course can freely sit. And it is not compulsory, but if they sit for that exam, they get the qualification, then will make sure that you know, the private sector will be regarded as the qualification. I mean that is something we can do, in terms of, you know, creating motivation for our students to really, you know, bring their language up to speed. What about some of these successful programs which had been tried out in other countries, adoption, I mean adopting a school. I mean in certain countries like America, for example, very often business executives go to schools they will talk to the youngsters about the outside world, how does the stock market work and how does the financial services market work, how does insurance work. I don’t think we have done enough of that. I mean adoption of school, actually bring in people out of their shells you know, show them the world and and these are some of the things that we can do. And finally I think some members of the audience actually know about this. I think recently a number of Chambers of Commerce actually came together in an informal meeting to talk about education and the conclusion was that, we should actually go ahead and form a business coalition on education. So if I may actually use this as an opportunity to actually appeal to all members in the audience and particularly, those representing the various Chambers of Commerce, you know, there will be a circular coming round. I do hope people would actually come in, join us, give your views, give your specific views, constructive opinions. So that we, collectively, can actually influence the views of the EC and then through them the policy-shapers. Thank you. Mr. Antony Leung: Thank you very much, Irving. Irving clearly talked about the complexity of the issues that the Education Commission face in tackling the reform or in tackling the education system here. But I think we are particularly pleased to hear about the formation of the business coalition on education. And I would encourage the business sector to actively work with this coalition to somehow influence the education policies in Hong Kong. But ultimately is not quite a policy, but really the education quality of Hong Kong that matters. So may I now kind of throw open for discussion and I would kind of urge you to express your view. We intend to 23
  24. 24. finish the meeting at 7:30. So we have about thirty-five minutes left. Now may I ask the speakers to say who we are first. Lady: My name is Louisa Lee. I work in the University of Hong Kong, the Career and Education Placement Centre. What I like to say is to respond to the consultation paper on the aims of education particularly on page 15. You mentioned that one of the aims is to develop a full potential of the individual covering a list of skills including social skills. I would suggest that to enable individuals to develop to their full potential, your list might include self- knowledge skills. Secondly, also on page 15, you mentioned that individual should be helped to be made ready for continuous self- learning and thinking. And in order to enable students, if just students to do that, I also suggest one more skill need to be added. That is, skills to explore educational and occupational opportunities. Thirdly, also on page 15, one of the aims you proposed is to help individuals have the abilities to adapt to changes throughout life. This will need two other skills, career planning and career management skills. So what I am proposing is that the EC might wish to consider including these skills in the curriculum. You might also like to consider to make this mandatory as they are already mandatory in the US for about five years, being overseen by a committee under the US Cougress. If you go this route may be you will think about developing effective and interesting action learning programs to teach these skills throughout the whole educational system from kindergarten, all the way up to year twelve. And from age 18 to aged 65. As it is already done in Canada for two years. It we are interested in these ideas we will be very happy to pass the contact people to you. Thank you. Mr. Antony Leung: Thank you, Louisa. I think those are very good points. I will take note of it. Gentleman: My name is Kenneth. I work across the border but I belong to Hong Kong. I love this place very much. If anybody accuse me of competing with this place. I’ve been in a lot of forums now for the last six weeks on education, and everywhere I participated in discussions, I have seen a very strong sense of lack of power. This sense that we are not powerful enough to change things. We asked the Education Commission Chairman, he said about 60-70% could be changed. He is saying that I’m only influencing various bodies. And I join the groups of parents in making a statement, you know on the newspaper, saying that, hay, we want our kids to be happy kids. We want them to be better educated for the following reasons. And while I am listening to this particular forum, I was happy that we have a lot of consensus actually on what we want as employers, because if we don’t get what we want, we will employ somebody else. The simple economic law. In fact I encourage the group of the 24
  25. 25. community leaders here, to really may be conducting research or may be to publish those information that to what extent are Hong Kong educated people losing those opportunities. Now because if we are not getting to the standards employers required, they will just loose those opportunities to outsiders, to competing individuals, to competing groups. I mean I said I worked in China. Because I sense everyday that you know education across the boarder is catching up very very fast. While we are enjoying a higher level of standard of living because we are more productive. If you are not productive, if we are not more productive, we shouldn’t be enjoying air-condition like this. We should be out there doing hardwork. So and there is no guarantee whatsoever that we will continue to do so unless our kids are much much better. One thing that I want to emphasize is that as employers we should really talk and talk and talk about changes the Hong Kong is facing. We are in a very difficult situation now. Hong Kong is losing its competitive edge if we are not very careful. I mean in terms of educational aims and educational objectives, we don’t want to change because we love to change. I think as employers we are changing or we are asking for change because we need to change. The world was different world today, we are talking about cyberport rather than the container port. We talk about the internet rather the other things as the way of communications. Is a very very different world out there. And we are business-man know that only too well because we don’t know it well we will losing out. Very simple and our neighbours and as well as our friend is out there very eager to compete with us and getting our position. So we need to be better, we need to talk about changes. We need to join the parents and the educators in the voice, and may be by way of giving information to the community at large that if we are not better, we will losing out and that voice, that message should be very loud and clear. And I encourage, you know, Community Chamber of Commerce and so on to publish so information and to publish those research information, so that parents know. Antony started this forum by saying parents listen to employers. I think they have still the wrong perception that the employers want, you know, obedient servants. Employer these days don’t want obedient servants. We need people who are thinkers, we need people who are better, we need people who can speak English, and Chinese and Mandarin, and whatever. We need to be able to compete with the next one. We need to be better. If I may say so. So if anything we can do this in the business community, I think the parents will listen more. Thank you. Mr. Antony Leung: Well, thank you. Kenneth. Gentleman: I am David Tong. We are primarily employers of technically trained people in steel plant in Hong Kong. One of these following three words have been mentioned by just about 25
  26. 26. everybody in the panel. Moral values, integrity and ethics. But since the students spend more of his time or her time away from school. Isn’t it a very important part of the education is to educate the parents themselves and I have not seen any efforts and I would like to see more emphasis in the education of parents. Mr. Antony Leung: Well, thank you, David. I think that is an extremely good point. The government has embarked on some efforts and have actually financed some initiatives in educating the parents. But I think the more effective education of parents should come from the parents themselves rather than rely on the government. One of the things I really try to change in terms of the education of Hong Kong is first to change the culture and that is, do not expect the government will initiate every changes and expect that to be effective. What will we really like to see is that, the education should be primary be done by the educators themselves, the headmasters and teachers provided that, obviously they are qualified and they are committed to it. But then as far as the parents they should be the best partners to the schools and to the educators. But then in terms of the education of the parents I would really encourage the parents to do it especially now that, we have seen a statement from the parents. I think is organized by University Graduates Association, may be the University Graduates Association can work together with other parents organizations, with other alumnis, Chinese University, University of Science and Technology, etc, etc. To really organize the parents themselves, to educate them as to what really is good education. Secondly, give advices to the government obviously monitor the performance of the education, and give advices to the government as to what should be done in Hong Kong as said, really to engage in the administration of the school and engage in the management of the schools themselves. Either school by school, or region by region. So I would really encourage you, parents, and employers to work on it rather than relying on the government, please. Lady: My name is Lynn Yau. Today I am here as part of the Young Entrepreneur Development Council. I have a few points to make. Basically we are talking about revamping the whole education curriculum. This has to be done and I agree with the points in the consultation document. The information explosion age is upon us and it will always be with us. Therefore I think what is very important is to develop flexibility, skills, lateral thinking, creative skills in our students. Only by giving them these skills in schools as early as possible, would they be able to analyse, to seek out their own material from the internet from whatever net that might be, there were just too much information around, we cannot expect teachers to do everything. How do we do that, I think 26
  27. 27. basically creativity is my main solution here. That has been brought up in the consultation document but has not been expanded for obvious reasons. If you are going to control the VTC, could you please also look into controlling the APA, the Academy for Performing Arts, and this is because I hear from my friends that tax payer subsidies for one student at the APA, is almost, if not equivalent to, a tax payer subsidies of a medical student from the Hong Kong U or the Chinese University. Secondly, I think the APA, will do better if it would come under the UGC or a government bureau, so that at least 30-40% of its recurrent expenditure would go to outreach programmes, creative outreach programmes into schools. It’s one way of convincing principals, teachers and parents that creativity actually would help their children survive into the 21st, 22nd, 23rd century. Another very good idea actually comes from the Hong Kong Baptist University. Every year, my company employs one placement student from the translation department for example, and they get a whole year’s training, on the salary, mind you, at my place. I hope I am able to teach them basic management skills, because I find that is grossly lacking in the recruits that we interview, it is positively shocking sometimes, the lack of common sense you see in our graduates. I don’t know how to teach common sense, but I do think one way is to actually have a 35 minutes lesson in school on how you run a office for example. I’ve met a lot of teachers, a lot of principals; who I’m sure are better businessmen than I am, and I think their skills, and this is not a negative comment, I’m sure their skills could be passed effectively to their students, so can we please in the replan of curriculum have something more practical. Secondly, I think awareness of education and it’s important it’s very important that, I have a staff member whose sister comes up to do various odd jobs once every two weeks, and she would start complaining about her children who were 12 and 14, they never read, they never study, they like computer games and nothing else, and they only like Mahjong as well. 12 and 10, fine, I’m sure they’ll be good mathematicians when they grow up. I decided to pay a visit to their home one day, and I realize there was absolutely no books in their home, barely a copy of newspaper, in other words, parents affect their children to a very very large extent. Now I’ve done something which I’m sure, after I say this nobody would come to work for my company. Regularly, I’ll get my staff over lunch, well at least one hour after lunch to talk about things in general, their children, their education, or particular movie, or particular book, and by so doing, I think we are made more aware of each other’s needs. Me as an employer they as employees and we have met about 6 times now, I’m sure didn’t give them suggestions but anyway, and I think other employers might consider these, of course the civil service is huge. I don’t know how you can do this but I do think that talking to your staff about the children’s education raises awareness, therefore you bring out 27
  28. 28. problems I am particularly concerned about language training, because it is a very important part of our service industry. I love Hong Kong, I grow up here, I went to school here up to university. I go to Singapore, I get into a taxi, and my problem is should I use Cantonese, English or Putonghua. That’s my problem. I mean obviously if the driver is an Indian, then I probably move into English. In Hong Kong, and it only happened again last week, every time I get on a bus, I don’t know why tourist seems to follow me around. Tourist, the tourist come on and raise a map to the driver and said, ‘Excuse me, where is D’guilla Street?’ ‘D’gulla Street’, ‘Diagonal Street?’. Nothing. There is no response from the bus driver. I do not blame this particular generation of bus driver because they had minimal education. But I do think that to form III, form IV, school- leavers, the very very basic level of English required in that particular service industry is of paramount importance, is very embarrassing as a Hong Kong person. You know if you cannot help a tourist no wondering our tourist figures are going down. In addition, I think as an employer I would very much like to see co-operation between the government and other employers much large than ourselves. I tried to E-mail, I do in fact E-mail both Education Commission and the Education Department about four months ago on a particular issue. I’m sure you have a lot of people E-mailing you. I will wait patiently for a reply and I hope for further co-operation. Thank you very much. Mr. Antony Leung: I apologize for the non-response I think probably in the process. But those were very good points. Thank you. Gentleman: My name is Andrew Yung. I also come from the business sector. I would like to make two points. I also come from the Education Concern Group of the University Graduates Association which initiated and mobilized support for the parents’ declaration. Up to now we have about 4117 signatures supporting the declaration. Of course, Antony Leung made a good point, right. Because we also heard opposition to our declaration. Actually some social workers and also some parents, particular parents from working class could say that you guys are middle class, wealthy, well-off people, and then of course you look for the kind of ideals. Well, what we want is, I mean our children can have upward mobility. Right, can enter the Hong Kong University and so on. So, I think it’s a good point that we have to educate the parents what education, good education means. So I think our association will try to think about what to do, to educate our parents. Secondly, I think this is good location for the business sector to voice their opinions about education in Hong Kong. But I would wonder are there any school principals or teachers, or Education Department’s officials here, a person to hear the views of the business sector. Of course I understand that on the education committee level we also have representatives from the business 28
  29. 29. community. But I was wondering whether in the frontline, for example, in the school sectors, where those principal or teachers can have a regular channel to hear the views of the business people or the community people or representatives from different industries, their views on education. So, should we build up regular channels. For example, in the board of directors of the schools whether we should have representative from the community who are appointed to the schools. Right, who would not disagree with the principals of the organization who organized the schools. So, should we have the kind of regular channel where the business people or other industries or other walks of life can have a chance to participate in the management of the school to tell the principal or the teachers what we want from their children. What kind of qualities we want from the children or should we set up a regional educational council. All right, you know may be in different schools, individual schools have this kind of board of directors. But on the other hand, should we have regional councils where business people or other kind of people can participate in a council to voice their views on the schools of region. Right, what do we want from the school. What kind of people do we want to come from the schools. I think unless you build up these kind of regular channels, otherwise next year, we will be having the same kind of forum and we will be making the same kind of complaints, and then the teachers and the principals do not know what we want from them. And actually from them, I think we are talking about resistance from these teachers and principals. I think the most important thing is that there really do not have any channels to listen to the views of people from all walks of life. There are views from newspapers but may be they don’t really understand what we mean by creativity, by the kind of qualities the penalists mentioned in their speeches. Thank you. Mr. Antony Leung: Thank you, Andrew. I think that these are all very good issues. But today we do have school principals present, except it’s a bit too few, and obviously we have officials from the Education Department here as well. But the business coalition can also take up some of these work. Mr. Alan Lung: May I share these experience on these two points. I want to share these experience with you. You are talking about school boards system. You know in regional councils in Canada, they call a school board. Officials sitting here, Mr. Raymond Young, few months ago, they are actually quite defensive about these, quite frankly, because they are worrying about losing control and I ask, no, they gave me all sorts of very good answers but I don’t understand it at the end of it. I think Professor Hayhoe actually has a more moderate solution. She suggested a stronger parent- teacher council so that could be a more moderate solution. 29