Monitoring sponsoring bodies in the appointment of school managers, supervisors and principals.
Asked by : Hon Emily LAU
Replied by : SEM
It has been reported that a former Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Buddhist Association has written to the Administration complaining about the Association's unfairness in selecting managers, supervisors and principals for its schools, and the failure of the appointed school managers and supervisors to discharge their duties of supervising the schools concerned. Regarding the appointment of school managers, supervisors and principals by sponsoring bodies ("SBs"), will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
- whether they have investigated the above complaint; if so, of the findings; if the complaint is substantiated, the follow-up actions to be taken; and
- of the mechanism in place to monitor the procedure adopted by SBs for appointing school managers, supervisors and principals, as well as the plans to prevent SBs from being unfair in handling such appointment matters?
| At present, the appointment of supervisors, school managers and principals is governed by the Education Ordinance (Cap. 279). Under the Ordinance, all school managers have to register with the Director of Education (D of E), and the appointment of supervisors and principals has to be approved by D of E(Note). D of E may refuse to register a school manager/approve the appointment of a supervisor or principal on a number of grounds (for example, the candidates concerned are not considered to be fit and proper persons to be entrusted with such responsibilities). D of E may also cancel the registration of a school manager or withdraw his approval for appointment of a supervisor/principal for various reasons, such as failure to perform duties satisfactorily.
Apart from the above, in appointing the principal of an aided school, the school management committee (SMC) is required to comply with the relevant provisions of the Codes of Aid. For example, the candidate has to possess the relevant qualifications and experience required.
As more and more responsibilities are devolved to schools, there is a need to increase the transparency and accountability of SMCs in their decision-making process (including appointment matters) and the use of public funds. In this connection, we are now devising a school governance framework to further involve key stakeholders in the decision-making mechanism. This is done by enhancing the representativeness of the SMC by introducing parent and teacher representatives and independent members to the Committee. Under the framework, we also propose that the selection of principal should be made by an independent selection committee comprising the school sponsoring body and SMC members. A more transparent and accountable SMC under the proposed framework will enable closer monitoring of school managers' performance and help ensure fairness in appointment matters. We will introduce legislative amendments to the Education Ordinance later this year to give legal backing to the framework.
To better support school managers and principals to perform their roles, ED will also issue a "Guide to the Selection and Professional Development of Principals" and "School Managers' Handbook" in the 2001/02 school year. The publications will provide reference to school sponsoring bodies as well as SMCs on, amongst others, selection of managers and principals.
As regards the handling of complaints about unfairness in selecting school managers, supervisors and principals, due investigation will be conducted by the Education Department. Should a complaint be substantiated, the Department will consider necessary follow-up actions to rectify the situation, including the cancellation of registration of school managers or the withdrawal of approval for appointment of supervisors/principals as provided for under the Education Ordinance. It would however be inappropriate to comment on individual cases.
Note Under the Education Ordinance, the school management committee has to recommend a supervisor and principal for D of E's approval.