Asked by : Hon Szeto Wah
Replied by : SEM
Regarding the implementation of the early retirement scheme in the Hong Kong Institute of Education, will the Government inform this Council:
The Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd) is one of the eight higher education institutions funded by the University Grant Committee (UGC). As with other UGC-funded institutions, HKIEd enjoys academic and institutional autonomy and the Administration does not interfere with its management.
During HKIEd's design and implementation of its Management-initiated Retirement Scheme (MIRS), HKIEd has sought the Administration's advice regarding pension arrangements for staff who are ex-civil servants transferred from the former Colleges of Education to the HKIEd when the latter was established in 1994. With the UGC Secretariat's coordination, the Education and Manpower Bureau, Civil Service Bureau, Finance Bureau, the Treasury and Education Department have provided input regarding pension, financial and accounting arrangements.
The Administration supports in principle the HKIEd's initiative to upgrade itself, through the implementation of an MIRS, to meet the requirements to confer degrees. The design and implementation of the retirement scheme are entirely matters for the management of the HKIEd. Based on the information provided by HKIEd, I would like to respond to the Hon Szeto Wah's enquiries as follows.
In early 2001, the Institute decided to implement a management initiated retirement scheme (MIRS) because only through this scheme can it ensure that the appropriate staff members will retire early and that staff transferred from the former Colleges of Education who may be retired can gain immediate pension. In early March 2001, the Institute management discussed with staff and the AL on the MIRS. An open staff forum was held, at which initial thoughts on the possible criteria and procedures for a MIRS were discussed. Emails were also sent to all staff members to solicit their views on the MIRS.
In June, the Staffing Committee of the HKIEd Council met twice to consider the proposal to implement the MIRS. The Staffing Committee took into account the future development of the Institute and the views of staff and the AL. In early July 2001, the HKIEd Council held a special meeting to consider the MIRS, and resolved to implement the Scheme. Staff members are represented on both the HKIEd Council and the Staffing Committee.
The Government and UGC formally accepted the financial commitments of the scheme in early August. All staff were immediately given full details of the scheme. When the detailed financial arrangements were confirmed in mid-September, the Institute began to inform individuals who had been provisionally identified for early retirement. The timing was designed to avoid a situation of continued anxiety and uncertainty for all staff for a prolonged period. On 21 September, the Director of HKIEd further announced that all who had been provisionally identified had been informed.
The long-term academic development needs of the Institute were formulated in consultation with individual departments/schools within the Institute, involving academic staff and subsequently agreed with the UGC.