Why is the Hong Kong Minister of Education and his deputy getting away with treating each other like outsiders in the city-wide debate over an exam virtually all grade 3 students have to take?
Parents who have long suffered from poor leadership in the Bureau of Education wonder why the taxes they pay fatten the wallets of inactive bureaucrats who would rather travel abroad than take care of a job. problem that affects hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren.
The debate on controversial assessment of the system at the territorial level calmed down after the Legislative Council held a public hearing in late November.
BBut parents and the government are doing their best to keep the pot boiling.
A group of parents sent an ultimatum to the office on Wednesday.
If the government does not cancel the TSA exam scheduled for June by Christmas, parents said, they will not encourage their children to do extra exercise during the Christmas holidays to prepare for it., nor will they allow their children to take the exam in June.
Faced with pressure from parents, Education Secretary Eddie Ng Hak-kim has again chosen to bypass the crisis.
Ng, who recently returned from a personal trip to Japan, decided not to attend a TSA task force meeting on Thursday afternoon.
Instead, he went to a farewell party for a group of high school students from Hong Kong who will be visiting Japan.
He regaled them with his travel experiences in this country, telling them how much he loved seeing the fall leaves in Tokyo just as Legco held his TSA public hearing last month.
Ng was very happy to talk to the students about their experience with TSA.
When some students said they did not know the real purpose of the TSA – which is intended to assess the educational performance of schools and not of individual students – Ng said it was a test of the ability to basic student learning.
It all depends on their abilities, and massive training – which many schools submit their students to before the exam – is unnecessary, he said.
He said students should go to school to learn but not to be trained for ASD.
Later, responding to questions about why he skipped the TSA task force meeting, Ng said he wanted “to just let the professionals discuss the matter.”
“It’s an event for professionals to have a wide exchange of ideas,” he said. “So I did not attend the meeting.”
Hong Kong taxpayers and parents, what do you think of Ng’s response?
The minister preferred to chat with the students and discuss the TSA with them but refused to attend the Legco public hearing and the TSA committee meeting.
If the education secretary is not “professional” enough to attend such meetings, then who should attend?
How are those in charge “outsiders”?
Hong Kong people will recall that during the Legco hearing, Ng’s deputy, veteran administrator Kevin Yeung Yun-hung, called himself an “outsider” regarding the TSA prosecution debate. in its current form.
Yeung insisted that the government sincerely wishes to resolve the crisis on the condition that local schools agree to stop their intensive training for ASD.
However, our education officials have yet to come up with a proposal on how to treat ASD, and schools are continuing to train for elementary 3 students who are due to take the exam in June.
Ng and Yeung threw the hot potato to the task force, which is tasked with developing a comprehensive plan for the review mechanism.
It is a transparent attempt to buy time and wait for the issue to calm down and slip off the public agenda.
ASD is far from being a simple matter that schools and their teachers need to worry about.
It sheds light on how the government fulfills one of its most important responsibilities, education.
General Manager Leung Chun-Ying and his government maintain a strong stance on retaining the TSA, despite some officials’ willingness to consider skipping the exam for this year’s Primary 3 cohort or randomly selecting students. students for ASD in order to avoid mass training by schools.
Parents do not understand why our government insists on denying their children the opportunity to enjoy the precious time they have left after schoolwork and extracurricular activities.
The hidden agenda
Leung’s firm position is an attempt to show the strength of the government by refusing to comply with parents’ demands to abolish ASD for grade 3 students.
But more importantly, the government’s hidden agenda is to use the TSA to tighten its grip on the education sector, which has long been a breeding ground for opposition to authorities, even during colonial times.
The TSA – ostensibly a means of collecting macro data to improve the quality of education – is a tool to interfere with school autonomy.
Although officials deny that this is linked to any ranking of schools, the fact is that the government uses the results of the CST to assess the performance of schools and to allocate resources and funding.
Incidentally, the publication of training exercise booklets for the TSA happens to be a key source of revenue for the Beijing-controlled Joint Publishing Group.
Traditionally, the performance of schools is mainly based on their students’ performance in public exams and their assignment to places in good schools.
The more students who achieve 5 * grades or who are assigned to schools in Band 1, the higher the ranking of their school..
The professional judgment, experience and ability of teachers are what can improve student performance.
But the TSA is not tied to the academic future of individual students but only to the assessment of schools.
Teachers, who must keep their jobs, can only offer massive training to students to try to make sure their schools pass the government assessment.
The hidden agenda is that while teachers are busy training students for ASD, they won’t have time to think about day-to-day business.
If teachers, parents and students are busy, they will not have time to participate in anti-government campaigns.
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