Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was quick to snub his successor Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor after the latter said during a radio interview on Tuesday that she would work with the outgoing administration and seek to put on hold the controversial Territorywide System Assessment (TSA).
Speaking to reporters before an Executive Council meeting later in the day, Leung said even if the TSA is to be abolished, it would only happen after July 1, when he is no longer chief executive, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Election Committee member Lam Tai-fai, who supported Carrie Lam in Sunday’s chief executive election, accused Leung of reneging on his promise to facilitate the power transition.
He urged Leung and Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim to cooperate with the incoming government’s policies.
Legislator Tanya Chan from the Civic Party said if the TSA will no longer be held next year under Carrie Lam’s administration, there is little sense in pushing through with this year’s examinations.
The tests are scheduled to be given to all Primary 3 students this May.
Law Yuk-ping, a member of a concern group on the prevention of student suicides, urged the government to re-examine the education system in the light of the pressures Hong Kong students are facing.
Law’s group held a protest outside the venue of the Executive Council meeting on Tuesday.
Law said Leung, in reaction, told the protesters that “there are many other competitions awaiting students after they leave school”.
Legislator Ip Kin-yuen, who represents the education sector, said it is unreasonable for Leung’s administration to push ahead with the TSA when the incoming government hopes to conduct a comprehensive review of the test.
The test, which aims to assess the learning competencies and learning progress of students, have drawn criticisms, especially from parents, who complain of the huge pressure it imposes on their children.
Fellow lawmaker Hui Chi-fung, from the Democratic Party, suspects that Carrie Lam is probably just putting up a show with Leung, knowing that the TSA will go ahead as planned.
Education chief Eddie Ng, who has said he will resign after his current term, stressed that the TSA was designed by professionals to prevent a decline in the students’ abilities.
Looking back on his five years as education minister, Ng cited his achievements in promoting free kindergarten education and tackling of inadequate school places in the northern districts.
He lamented that people tend to focus on the government’s shortcomings rather than on its accomplishments.
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