Bidding farewell to the Legislative Council
My greetings to you. Eight years have lapsed since I took office as a Legislative Councillor in 2012. With my imminent departure from the Legislative Council, I would like to express my sincere thanks to you for all the support and encouragement you have given me. While I will be leaving the Legislative Council on 1 December, I will continue to serve as a Vice-President of HKPTU and will continue to safeguard the work of the education sector.
Undoubtedly, we are at a very difficult time, but we should not lose hope. Looking back over the past eight years, the first five years were almost hopeless. My counterpart was a Secretary for Education who was more enthusiastic about travel than education. All our requests elicited no response. It was like calling out to the sea and receiving no echoes. However, not for a moment did we cease sowing seeds. Our appeals time and time again (such as making expositions on teacher-to-class ratios, conducting surveys on contract teachers, and expressing concern over a salary scale for kindergarten teachers) gradually formed a social consensus, and eventually blossomed and bore fruit in the initial period of the new-term Government. The improvements in the establishment of teachers, the pegging of teaching posts at the GM/APSM level, the increase in university research funding, the expected emergence of a salary scale for kindergarten teachers, etc. seen in 2017 were certainly not fortuitous. In times of difficulty, we must continue to sow seeds.
With the authorities wielding power to oppress, and the pro-establishment camp unceasingly intensifying their criticism, the difficulties we face today have become particularly forbidding. At a time when society is torn apart and when distortions and smears are rampant, we must be more united than ever. We will continue to adhere to peaceful means in defending ‘One country, Two systems’. We must also protect our team and our beloved seedlings with meticulous care. We must – without being servile nor supercilious – hold fast to education professionalism.
One’s integrity emerges in the face of adversity and those who evince it will go down in history. The essence of education is hope. We are pinning our hopes on the next generation. Difficult days, even worse than now, will eventually be gone. What matters is to persevere, keep our conscience, continue to sow seeds, and hope that once the difficulties are over, we will be able to be greeted by beautiful flower seedlings all over the place.
Legislative Councillor (Education)
|Representative of Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union
in Legislative Council,
Hon IP Kin-yuen