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Transcript of remarks by Secretary for Education

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim, at a media session after attending a radio programme today (February 6):

Reporter: You've announced all these special arrangements, increasing class sizes, increasing classrooms. Are you worried that it will actually affect the education quality of these schools? Do you think they can handle it?

Secretary for Education: Very good question, thank you. On top of all those ideas, either expanding, modifying classrooms or expanding the number of classrooms, and also adding on allocation of a number of students per class, all these devices or measures are on a one common basic principle, that is quality is not to be affected. So if I only add one or two students into the class, then it should be manageable. But if I'm going to put quite a number of additions, definitely the Education Bureau would work together with the schools concerned in providing additional support, whatever is reasonable and effective, to ensure one basic principle, i.e. quality of education should not be affected in whatever way.

Reporter: And what factors are you considering when you are looking at maybe creating a new school net for these cross-boundary students?

Secretary for Education: First of all, this is an issue of capacity management. We understand there's a surplus capacity here and there or vacancies per zone. Then we should make that information available and put it together because, for cross-boundary students and parents, what they need importantly would be the availability of information and the spread of the capacities. So that's the first one. The second one is that transportation and safety of students are all included in the whole planning process, and, because of this one, we need to work together cross-bureaux to ensure the traffic, safety and viability of road capacity and also the distribution of school vacancies, and all these are being netted together for consideration.

Reporter: Are you saying that you didn't feel any external interference in the moral and national education controversy?

Secretary for Education: That's right. I feel that I have the full autonomy as far as managing the moral and national education process is concerned. And everything worked according to the key stakeholders' views and responses. And throughout the process, we have made a very conscious decision in ensuring that the school sponsoring bodies, schools' professional teachers are the ones making the final decision as to whether they would like to launch the moral and national education and, if they want, in what sense, in what form and in what time frame, and everything's under the decision of the school and the sponsoring body. At the same time, the moral, national and civic education is the basic learning for every student. Nobody should stop it if a school decides to proceed. And at the same time, as far as the national education curriculum guide is concerned, we agree to shelve this particular guide. It's there and if people want to use it, by all means. We, the Education Bureau, will no longer use the curriculum guide, the shelved one, as the basis for school inspection. Everything works according to the standard within Hong Kong SAR Government's process and I do not feel any additional or undue pressure or views imposing on me at all. That's not such a thing at all.

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

Ends/Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Issued at HKT 13:18


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