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Transcript of remarks by SED

    Following is the transcript of remarks (English portion) by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, after attending a briefing on ¡§Trial Scheme on School Drug Testing¡¨ today (August 6):

Reporter: (Have to respect students) ?

Secretary of Education: If a student, despite having parental consent, refuses to yield a sample for the urine test, we will respect the view of the student. But, of course we will have to follow up why the refusal has taken place. We will keep the data confidential. It is only on a need-to-know basis that we will allow different stakeholders to get hold of the relevant information. So there is no danger of widespread knowledge of a particular student being involved in this exercise.

Reporter: Any guideline ... ?

Secretary of Education: Definitely. We are preparing details of a guideline and we hope it will be available by the end of the month.

Reporter: Any reaction from students so far? What¡¦s the big issue there? Will the drug test lead to the creation of more jobs and new positions, e.g. for the social workers, counsellors or the medical staff? Set-up cost for the 18 districts once the trial is set in Tai Po, is there money set aside for this?

Secretary of Education: As to the peer group pressure, the scheme will apply to all students, the labelling effect I think is very much diminished because it is on a voluntary basis. If you don¡¦t volunteer, then you don¡¦t join. New positions have not been created but we will take steps to create them.

Reporter: Is the Government putting up four sites for international school development?

Secretary of Education: Last year we put up four sites for the purpose of public tender. We have received 14 applications from school sponsoring bodies. I am pleased to announce that of the four sites, three of them have gone to existing operators of international schools in Hong Kong. The fourth one has gone to the Harrow Public School in England. As you know, they have already operated two campuses outside England in Asia. Hong Kong will become the third one.  

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Thursday, August 6, 2009
Issued at HKT 18:46


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