Following is the speech by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Prof Arthur K C Li, in resuming the second reading of Education (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2003 at the Legislative Council meeting today (January 14):
The Education (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2003 aims to amend the Education Ordinance (Cap. 279), the Education Regulations (Cap. 279, sub. leg. A) and the Post Secondary Colleges Ordinance (Cap. 320) to permit schools and post secondary colleges to conduct courses on general holidays, to abolish the requirement for separate registration of schools (other than aided and Direct Subsidy Scheme schools) which provide both day and evening instruction, to enable the regulations to provide for any continuing education and training for teachers, to raise the qualifications required of teachers and to provide for the appointment of an Appeal Boards Panel.
I would like to thank the Honourable Cyd Ho Sau-lan and members of the Bills Committee for scrutinizing the Bill, for the constructive advice they have tendered, and for their support of the proposals in the Bill.
Members of the Bills Committee considered that serving permitted teachers (PTs) might have expectation that they could become registered teachers (RTs), under the existing arrangement, by accumulating certain years of services without going through proper teacher training. A transitional period should thus be provided to allow these teachers to take approved training courses. We note members' concern and propose to add a transitional provision allowing a grace period of five years from the commencement date of the Amendments Ordinance for PTs to acquire the necessary qualifications. If a PT who has been enrolled in or is attending an approved programme has to change schools or subjects taught within the grace period, the Permanent Secretary for Education and Manpower may grant special permission to issue a teaching permit to the teacher concerned. Moreover, PTs who possess the prescribed teaching experience for registration as RTs before the commencement date will be allowed to apply for registration within two months from the commencement date.
Members also expressed concern about the composition of an Appeal Board in hearing or determining appeals concerning the registration or cancellation of registration of teachers. We therefore propose to add a subsection to section 62, which provides that where an Appeal Board hears or determines any appeal concerning the registration or cancellation of the registration of a teacher, at least three of its members must be RTs.
On the basis of the discussion in the Bills Committee, I shall be moving fourteen Committee Stage amendments later on. Four of them are to fine-tune our policy intentions in response to the views and concerns of members, and the rest are technical amendments. All the amendments have been endorsed by the Bills Committee.
I hope that Members will support the Bill and the amendments that I shall propose in the Committee Stage.
I propose that the Bill be read the second time.
Ends/Wednesday, January 14, 2004