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LCQ17: Disabled students


Following is a question by the Hon Ho Chung-tai and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (July 7):


It has been reported that the Equal Opportunities Commission ("EOC") dealt with a total of 58 cases involving disability discrimination in the education area in the past seven years. In view of this, EOC and the Education and Manpower Bureau have jointly developed an online course to help teachers understand the Disability Discrimination Ordinance and the learning needs of disabled students. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the areas of discrimination involved in the above cases;

(b) whether, in addition to the above measures, other measures will be formulated to ensure that disabled students will not be discriminated against by schools; and

(c) whether it has plans to require all teachers to take the above course on a compulsory basis; if not, how it ensures that teachers will have certain understanding of the relevant legislation?


Madam President,

(a) According to the Equal Opportunities Commission ("EOC"), the 58 cases involved the following educational establishments:

Kindergartens and Child Care Centres 13

Primary and Secondary Schools 25

Tertiary Institutions 6

Vocational Training Institutes and Others 14

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Total 58

Of these cases, three were related to disability harassment and the other 55 were mainly concerned with school admission, support and accommodations provided to disabled students with special learning needs, assessment, school access and facilities, etc.

(b) Apart from the e-learning programme "Equal Opportunities Begin at School", EOC, the Education and Manpower Bureau (EMB) and tertiary institutions/vocational training institutes have taken other initiatives to ensure that students with disabilities are not discriminated by schools. To enhance the understanding of the educational sector, parents and stakeholders of discrimination issues in the field of education, EOC compiled the Disability Discrimination Ordinance Code of Practice on Education in 2001 and published a series of information leaflets on Disability and Education in 2003 setting out practical guidelines. Various promotional activities such as talks, dramas, debate are also organised to communicate the principles and values of equal opportunities to the school management, students and parents.

EMB has implemented a series of support measures, including the issue of circulars, publication of leaflets and production of TV and Radio Announcements of Public Interest on equal opportunities in education for schools and the general public; and the provision of assistance, guidance and assessment to students with disabilities when they apply for school admission. As regards teaching, EMB also provides support and guidelines indicating the accommodation that can be made by schools with respect to learning and facilities. Topics on equal opportunities have been incorporated into the professional management course for kindergarten principals and heads of child care centres, and the training course for newly appointed primary and secondary school principals. In addition, EMB organises related courses, seminars and workshops for school heads and teachers every year. Furthermore, all University Grants Committee-funded institutions have their own policy on assisting and supporting disabled students. At the teacher education institutions, modules on handling student diversity and learning needs have been incorporated into relevant programmes.

As regards vocational training, the Vocational Training for the Disabled Section of the Vocational Training Council provides relevant support and proper guidance to disabled students, including special arrangements for them in their admission process and in examinations during the course of training. The Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education and its training centres have been organising seminars regularly to brief staff on the policy and measures on protecting and helping the disabled. In addition, the 13 training bodies offering tailor-made training programmes to the disabled under the Employees Retraining Board all have experienced instructors and provide the suitable facilities.

(c) While the Government does not require teachers/vocational training instructors to pursue the e-learning programme "Equal Opportunities Begin at School" on a compulsory basis, it has adopted the measures and support services mentioned above to encourage teachers/vocational training instructors to take up the course on their own initiative for familiarizing themselves with the Disability Discrimination Ordinance in order to address the needs of disabled students effectively. After completion of the course, teachers will be awarded four hours in Continuing Professional Development.

Ends/Wednesday, July 7, 2004


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