Transcript of remarks by SED

     Following is a transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng, at a media session after officiating at the "Salute to Teachers 2012 - Teachers' Day and Commendation Certificate Presentation Ceremony" today (September 12):

     I'm so glad to be here today. It is the Teachers' Day - the 17th round of this annual exercise. This is a very important event to show our appreciation and recognition to the very dedicated, top professional teachers in Hong Kong. For the last 17 rounds, we have altogether given recognition to over 20 000 very dedicated, committed, very effective teachers with the highest professional standard. This is important because according to research studies conducted by the very prominent international consultancy, McKinsey & Company, Hong Kong stands on top of the world in terms of our education system and school performance. All these are the hard work and dedication of our teachers' devotion and support. We should feel proud of having such a dedicated team with us, and this is the purpose of today's Teachers' Day for the seventeenth year.

     Now, let me get back to the Moral and National Education (MNE) Subject. Under the new policy, the school sponsoring bodies and schools can now exercise their discretion to decide whether they would like to implement the MNE subject based on their professional judgement, whether the subject should be introduced as an independent subject, and if they want to, they are able to determine what mode as well as schedule for its implementation. In other words, under the new policy, the so-called three-year "deadline" for implementing the subject no longer existed. As a Chinese national, it is proper and right for us to learn about our own country. Let me emphasise one point, the Government did not release and have not released so far any teaching materials and has nothing to do with any of the teaching materials circulated or referred to among the public. So far, the Government has made public only one piece of document, and this is the Curriculum Guide released by the Education Bureau in April this year. This is the only document published by the Government. The controversial part on "you are so touched when you see the national flag that you have to cry", have been deleted. I just want to emphasise these two points.

Reporter: Will you apologise for past comments you made about the silent majority in support of the national education?

Secretary for Education: As I have said earlier, the Education Bureau is carrying a HK$80 billion budget which is over 23% of the total government spending for this year. This is important for me to work on as the Education Secretary. I need to work harder in order to serve the community on this part. Whatever I said before, I have only one purpose in mind and that is to serve the community in education services.

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

Ends/Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Issued at HKT 20:38