Is School-based Management a good excuse for the shirker?

Chan Kwok-kuen
Deputy Director, Publication Department

Recently, it was reported in local media that a primary-school teacher had assaulted a student with special learning disabilities, which led him an arm fracture, and the police had taken over this case for further investigation. In response to this incident, the Education Bureau (EB) states that “due to the principle of School-based Management (SBM), this incident should be handled by the concerned school. After the investigation by the school and the police, the professional registration of the concerned teacher will then be reviewed.”

This controversial SBM is now implemented in full swing. Under the SBM policy, the Incorporated Management Committee (IMC) is composed of stakeholders of different backgrounds of the community. EB which takes the responsibility of allocating public funds to all school sponsoring bodies and is therefore definitely a principal shareholder by the law, so sarcastically plays no functional role in the IMC. More surprisingly, in the recently revised Codes of Aids, EB seems to fade out its function intentionally, and under the disguise of upholding the principle of “School-based” Management shirks its responsibilities of managing schools’ operations and supervising school development.

To review this incident of student abuse in school, it is extremely annoying to see if EB can still turn a blind eye on its seriousness. SBM should no longer be the excuse of the EB to shirk its responsibility and the school should have no leeway to self-investigate and handle this incident. This shows not only the cowardice of the authority, but also their irresponsibility toward their role of professional management and administration.

Moreover, we found that many complaints concerning the school governance included the promotion and termination of the teaching staff, the parental right and the students’ welfare. These are all important issues facing the education sector, where EB intends to reduce its supervisory role in the school’s governance. SBM is only their pretext, to which our sector should respond in a very serious manner.