PTU News Reporter
After months of protests, the government announced on 21st December 2018 that Shine Skills Centre will be redeveloped at its current site and continue to be operated by the Vocational Training Council (VTC). President of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union (HKPTU) FUNG Wai-wah welcomes the government’s acceptance of public’s opinion and decision. He attributes the success to the united efforts of the staff, students, alumni, and parents of Shine. He also hopes the government has learnt a lesson in placing more emphasis on the disabled’s needs and carrying out sufficient consultation before decision making. The HKPTU will closely follow the redevelopment of Shine and ensure sufficient resources and support are provided.
800 Teachers and Students Surround Shine in Solidarity
The government announced in the 2018 Policy Address that the Kwun Tong campus of Shine would be reclaimed and redeveloped into the Civil Service College. Existing vocational training services for the disabled would have to be relocated and publicly tendered. The decision was blasted as an excuse to suspend services of Shine. Teachers of Shine, the labour union, the HKPTU, legislators IP Kin-yuen, Dr. Fernando CHEUNG, SHIU Ka-chun, and Roy KWONG gathered in opposition to the government’s decision on 18th November 2018. Joined by nearly 800 teachers, students, alumni, parents of Shine and other individuals, they held hands and surrounded Shine to show their determination and solidarity in safeguarding Shine.
On 20th November, the LegCo Panel on Welfare Services called a special meeting to discuss the relocation. Secretary for Labour and Welfare Dr. LAW Chi-kwong announced in the meeting the government’s plan to first discuss with the VTC the possibility for them to continue operating an enhanced version of an integrated vocational training centre. Executive Director of the VTC Dr. Carrie YAU said they were willing to discuss with the government in an effort to ignite hope in teachers and students of Shine. On 21st December 2018, a press release from the government announced they have reached a consensus with the VTC. Shine in Kwun Tong will be temporarily housed at a school site on Oxford Road, Kowloon Tong while the Kwun Tong campus is being redeveloped and the Civil Service College is being built. The redevelopment project is expected to complete by 2025 and Shine will then be homed again on the Kwun Tong campus. President of HKPTU welcomes the government’s acceptance of the public’s opinion and decision, and attributes the success of saving Shine to the united efforts of staff, students, alumni, and parents of the Centre. He hopes the government will place more emphasis on the needs of the disabled and ensure sufficient consultation before making any decision in the future so that the needs of the disabled will not be neglected.
HKPTU Continues to Follow up with Teachers and Students’ Needs during Relocation
The HKPTU has reached out to Shine to ensure they receive sufficient support during the relocation. Staff of Shine expressed their concerns about challenges disabled students would face as the campus on Oxford Road is poorly connected. There is no MTR station nearby and few bus and minibus routes cover the campus. There are also numerous slopes in the area, posing a challenge to disabled students. The government promised to provide school bus services and the HKPTU will follow up to ensure the school bus routes and frequency meet students’ needs. In addition, the temporary campus is aged and lacks elevators. The HKPTU demanded the government to complete all renovation and improvement projects before Shine moves into the temporary campus.