Following is the speech by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in resuming the Second Reading of Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (Amendment) Bill 2003 at the Legislative Council meeting today (November 26):
The Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (Amendment) Bill 2003 aims to provide express authority for the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority to conduct examination and assessment services outside Hong Kong. The Amendment Bill also seeks to suitably increase the fines for breach of secrecy and impersonation.
I would like to thank the Honourable Cyd HO and members of the Bills Committee for scrutinizing the Bill and for the constructive advice that they have tendered. The Bills Committee supported our policy direction of allowing the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority to provide service outside Hong Kong and reminded the Authority that appropriate measures should be taken to secure the confidentiality of examinations so that the interests of the candidates would not be jeopardised. We could not agree more on this. We have explained to the Bills Committee the usual practice amongst examination bodies when they engage overseas agents to conduct examination service for them. The Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority has ample of experience being the entrusted organisation, and it shall follow the best and most rigorous practices when the Authority seeks to provide its own examination service outside Hong Kong. We undertook at the Bills Committee that the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority will only pursue, and we will only approve, an examination to be conducted outside Hong Kong when we are satisfied that the provision of such service would bring positive impact to the educational and manpower development in Hong Kong and the confidentiality of the examination is secured. We would report to the Panel on Education the security arrangements to be made later on when the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority has worked out the details.
I am pleased to have the support of the Bills Committee for us to raise the fine levels for breach of secrecy and impersonation. Although the integrity of our examination system is not under any sort of risk, we consider it desirable to raise the level of fine of these offences to an appropriate level to reflect the intended deterrent effect.
I shall be moving a Committee Stage Amendment later on. It is to ensure that the English and Chinese texts of the Amendment Bill are entirely consistent with each other.
I propose that the Bill be read the second time.
Ends/Wednesday, November 26, 2003