After having thoroughly studied the election pledges of the four CE election candidates on education, political reform and public governance, as well as consulted our members through internal opinion polls, the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union (HKPTU) has decided to endorse former financial secretary John Tsang with all of its 35 votes on the Election Committee.
The HKPTU interviewed 1,161 of its members by telephone. Among them, 83.5 percent agreed that the organization should nominate a CE candidate.
About 59.9 percent said they favored John Tsang. Our final decision to endorse Tsang is based overwhelmingly on the wishes of our fellow members.
As far as the election pledges of the four candidates are concerned, we agreed that all of them attach great importance to education. However, after having compared all four of them, we have found that John Tsang’s vision for education is the most thorough and comprehensive.
For example, he has promised to spend 4-5 percent of GDP on education once elected and allocate an additional HK$5 billion or more to education annually.
Besides, he has agreed to open the position of a special educational needs co-ordinator in every public school and establish the position of information technology co-ordinator in all publicly funded secondary schools, something that the HKPTU has been pushing for over the years.
As far as the controversial issue of university autonomy is concerned, Tsang agreed there is an urgent need to review the role of the chief executive as ex-officio chancellor of all our universities.
On the most urgent demand raised by the education sector to improve the student-teacher ratio in our primary and secondary schools, Tsang has promised to address the issue promptly once elected .
Retired judge Woo Kwok-hing has put forward the most detailed and ambitious roadmap toward universal suffrage compared with all other candidates.
The next thing we will have to do is scrutinize the performance of the various candidates in the wake of the nomination period and further consult our members about their preferences, and then decide which candidate we are going to vote for on March 26.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb. 23
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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