PTU News Reporter
Since Carrie LAM announced in her Policy Address the scheme to relocate Shine Skills Centre in Kwun Tong and use its current site for Civil Service College, students, teachers, and parents have been striving to keep Shine Skills Centre in the Kowloon district. The Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union (HKPTU), The Vocation Training Council Skills Centres Staff Assocation, and legislators IP Kin-yuen, Dr. Frenando CHEUNG, SHIU Ka-chun, and Roy KWONG coorganised an assembly on 18th November, where 800 students, teachers, and parents participated. President of the HKPTU FUNG Wai-wah criticized the government’s decision and demanded the government to withdraw the plan.
Students and Teachers Safeguard the Centre in Solidarity
800 students, teachers, alumni, parents, and other individuals came together on 18th November to safeguard Shine Skills Centre in Kwun Tong. The organisers’ joint declaration criticized that the government used relocation to Kowloon as an excuse to shut down the Centre as the Centre would be publicly tendered. Students and graduates of the Centre stated in the assembly that the training they had received at the Centre tremendously aided their career development. Some graduates even claimed that their own success of getting a job after graduating from the Centre had encouraged their younger peers to apply for a place at the Centre, but the decision to shut down the Centre had led to a sense of loss of direction in them. FUNG Wai-wah blasted the Labour and Welfare Bereau’s claim that the two-year programmes could be shortened to one year, posing the rhetorical question of whether four-year programmes at universities could be shortened to two years by the logic. Participants of the assembly held hands and surrounded the campus to show their determination to safeguard the Centre afterwards.
VTC Might Take Over the Service
The LegCo Panel on Welfare Services called a special meeting on 20th November for the matter. Executive Director of the Vocational Training Council (VTC) Carrie YAU disclosed in the meeting that they were informed by Labour and Welfare Bereau’s Commissioner for Rehabilitation the day after the assembly that there might be a turn of events. Secretary for Labour and Welfare Dr. LAW Chi-kwong announced the government’s latest decision to first discuss with the VTC. Should the VTC have the capacity to take over the Centre’s new services after the relocation, there will be no need to publicly tender the Centre. However, there has been no official definition or documents regarding the improved services that should be provided by the new Centre. Carrie YAU hopes to discuss with the government as soon as possible to find out what improved services mean.
A majority of legislators expressed their concerns in the meeting as the services provided by the Centre in Kwun Tong has long been welcomed by parents, students, and employers, which results in an employment rate over 80%. The government should not replace the current services with an unclear improvement plan or shut down the Centre should the VTC be unable to take over the improved services.