PTU Follows up with Teacher’s Death and
Calls for Review of School-based Management

PTU News Reporter

The Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union (PTU) is deeply saddened by the loss of Ms LAM Lai-tong, teacher at Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Leo Tung-hai Lee Primary School, who fell to her death in the beginning of March. PTU continues to follow up with the incident. In addition to contacting all stakeholders and discussing assistance the PTU could offer as the labour union of teachers, PTU has requested in written form a death inquest and an investigation from The Coroner’s Court, the Department of Justice, and the Hong Kong Police Force. On the other hand, the incident has revealed loopholes in the system of school-based management. On top of requesting a meeting with the Education Bureau, PTU vice president and Legislative Council member IP Kin-yuen motioned “reviewing the implementation of school-based management” and made numerous suggestions in the LegCo meeting on 28th March, urging the Education Bureau to review the system and its complaint mechanism to ensure the welfare of school staff and to cultivate a trusting and nurturing working environment.

PTU Requests Death Inquest to Restore Truth and to Make Improvement Suggestions

Letters were sent to The Coroner’s Court, the Department of Justice, and the Hong Kong Police Force respectively on 22nd March to request an inquest into Ms Lam’s death as well as an investigation. PTU’s vice president and lawyer CHONG Yiu-kwong said, according to the ordinance, PTU is a properly interested person in the concerned death. As the incident concerns public interest and the safety of teachers, an inquest into Ms Lam’s death is necessary. As the Coroner’s Court enjoys independence and exercises sufficient investigatory power, it has the best chance of restoring the truth. In addition, The Coroner’s Court is most capable of making concrete improvement suggestions regarding the incident and its opinions are most respected by the society. Such practice would hopefully prompt the Education Bureau and schools in Hong Kong to review the current situation and make improvements accordingly to ensure teachers’ well-being and to avoid such tragedies.

IP Kin-yuen Motions “Reviewing the Implementation of School-Based Management”

IP Kin-yuen motioned “reviewing the implementation of school-based management” and provided various suggestions in the LegCo meeting on 28th March. Although in support of school-based management’s spirit of decentralisation, Ip said there are loopholes in the system. The Education Bureau has shifted the responsibility of supervising schools to the incorporated management committee (IMC), which also handles complaints from schools, whereas the Bureau only serves as an outsider. This situation contributes to the possibility of abuse of power, depriving complainants of effective channels.

Ip made a multitude of suggestions in the motion, including an extensive review of the school-based management system carried out by the Education Bureau to ensure checks and balances of schools’ governing power, enhancement of governance transparency and teachers’ participation, urging the Education Bureau to fulfil its supervision duties to ensure complaints are fairly handled, and demanding the Education Bureau to set up an independent and Professional General Teaching Council. The motion can be found here: tinyurl.com/sba-motion.