The 'bogus anointment' of Unison by education bureau

September 22, 2015 15:37
The Education Bureau should keep its work of supporting local ethnic minorities visible and proactive. Photo: Now TV

The discussion on "Quality Kindergarten Education" for non-Chinese-speaking parents organized by the Education Bureau (EDB) on Sept. 11 in Tuen Mun came as a surprise to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and parents alike.

With little notice otherwise, the EDB emailed Hong Kong Unison the particulars of the event and asked us to let them know if there are non-Chinese-speaking parents who would like to join the seminar.

At Unison's urging, the EDB posted the information on its website only four days before the talk was to be held, and we forwarded the information to other NGOs on the same day.

A day before the seminar, during a meeting with the Equal Opportunities Commission, fellow NGO workers serving ethnic minorities voiced their exasperation as to why they were not informed earlier -- some found out about the seminar just then -- as parents would have to make childcare arrangements to be able to attend.

It appeared that Unison was the only organization during the meeting that had received the email from the EDB.

On the day of the seminar, an EDB official, when asked why the bureau did not give more publicity to the talk before it was held, said: “We asked Unison to promote the talk.”

Apparently, Unison had become the “chosen one” even without our knowledge.

While Unison appreciates opportunities to meet with EDB representatives and was glad to receive information about the seminar, we were not at all aware that we had been appointed as its “exclusive promoter”.

We voluntarily pass information which we think is relevant to other NGOs.

The low-profile and “humble” way the EDB carries out its work is indeed admirable, but lest shyness be taken as a lack of effort, the EDB should take heart and keep its work visible and proactive, especially when it comes to supporting non-Chinese-speaking students.

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Executive Director, Hong Kong Unison