LegCo Paper No. CB(2)2226/96-97
(These minutes have been seen
by the Administration)
Ref : CB2/PL/IP

LegCo Panel on Information Policy

Minutes of Meeting
held on Friday, 11 April 1997 at 10:30 am
in Conference Room A of the Legislative Council Building

Members Present :

    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing (Chairman)
    Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
    Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

Member Absent :

    Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo

Public Officers Attendance :

Mr Patrick W M CHIM
Principal Assistant Secretary for the Treasury
Mr Geoffrey F WOODHEAD
Principal Assistant Secretary for Economic Services
Head, Telecoms Review, Economic Services Branch
Mr John DEAN
Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs
Mr Patrick CHUNG
EDI Co-ordinator, Trade and Industry Branch
Miss Joanna CHOI
Principal Assistant Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport
Mr Anthony S K WONG
Director-General of Telecommunications
Mr NG Kwok-chuen
Assistant Director of Education (Chief Inspector of Schools)
Mr Dennis C T PANG
Chief Systems Manager Information Technology Services Department
Mr YUK Wai-fung
Principal Management Services Officer,
Efficiency Unit

Attendance by Invitation :

Hong Kong Information Technology Federation
Mr John DALY
Council Member
Mr Henry CHAN Kar-ming
Council Member

Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Association
Mr Daniel NG

Hong Kong Coalition of Services Industries
Mrs Lorraine WONG

Hong Kong Computer Society
Mr Simon TAM Ping-leung
Committee Member
Internet & Networking Special Interest Group
Mr LAU Kai-hing
Committee Member
Internet & Networking Special Interest Group
Dr C K Wong
Fellow, HKCS
Committee Member

Hong Kong Development and Strategic Research Centre
Mr Mathias WOO

Television Broadcasts Limited
Mr Alex YING
General Manager - Corporate Affairs
Mr Stephen CHAN
Controller - Programme Division and External Affairs Division

Asia Television Limited
Mr Kenneth KWOK
Assistant Chief Executive Officer

The University of Hong Kong
Social Sciences Research Centre
Professor Y L CHIN
Department of Computer Science

The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Mr Luka LO
Project Co-ordinator
Information Networking Laboratories
Mr Ringo LAM
Project Co-ordinator
Information Networking Laboratories
Mr CHENG Che-hoo
Senior Computer Office
Computer Services Centre

The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology
Dr John WONG
Principal Computer Officer
Department of Computer Science

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Chief Computing Officer
Mr Kent LEUNG Ka-tsun
Senior Computing Officer

City University of Hong Kong
Mr POON Kee-hoo
Director of Computing Services

Hong Kong Baptist University
Mr Jerome DAY
Director, Computing and Telecommunications Services Centre

Open Learning Institute of Hong Kong
Principal Lecturer, School of Science & Technology

The Hong Kong Institute of Education
Mr LAI Kwok-chan
Acting Head of Academic Implementation

Vocational Training Council
Executive Director
Mr Stephen AU
Chief Systems Manager

The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers
Ir Jolly C K WONG
Committee Member of Information
Technology Division
Ir Alfred HO
Immediate Past Chairman of Information Technology Division

Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data
Mr Tony LAM
Assistant Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data

Regional Services Department
Mr TSE Fu-shing
Chief Librarian
Urban Services Department
Mr Nelson HA Ka-wing
Manager, Information Technology Centre

Clerk in Attendance :

Mrs Anna LO
Chief Assistant Secretary (2) 2

Staff in Attendance :

Miss Eva LIU
Head of Research & Library Services Division
Mr Colin CHUI
Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 2

I. Confirmation of minutes of meeting held on 7 March 1997 and matters arising

The minutes of meeting held on 7 March 1997 were confirmed.

II. Date and items for discussion for next meeting

[Paper No. CB(2)1749/96-97 (01)]

2. Members agreed that -

  1. Implementation of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance would be discussed at the next meeting to be held on 9 May 1997 at 10:30 am in Conference Room B of the Legislative Council Building.
  2. Development of information superhighway and Internet in Hong Kong would be further discussed at the meeting to be held on 6 June 1997 at 10:30 am in Conference Room A of the Legislative Council Building.

III. Development of information superhighway and Internet in Hong Kong

Matters arising from the last meeting

Information Age Co-ordination Council

3. The Chairman said that she had checked with the Office of the Financial Secretary which denied the newspaper report on the establishment of an Information Age Co-ordination Council under the chairmanship of the Financial Secretary.

Information technology education in schools

4. Referring to Paper No. CB(2)1749/96-97 (02), representative of the Education Department (ED) briefed members on ED’s proposals in the draft Estimates 1997-98 to extend information technology (IT) education in schools. The tentative objectives of IT education in primary schools were -

  1. Students at the Primary 1 to 3 learning stage would be provided with not less than 30 hours in operating computers in school with a view to enabling them to use computers as writing and communication tools; and
  2. Students at the Primary 4 to 6 learning stage would be provided with not less than 40 hours in operating computers with a view to enabling them to make use of computerised information including that on the Internet.

ED would draw up these objectives in consultation with educational and relevant professional bodies.

Acquisition of computers for use in schools

Additional technicians for computer education in schools

5. A member opined that schools should be allowed to purchase computers directly from the market instead of going through the lengthy public tender procedures by ED. Direct purchase would enable schools to buy the most up-dated models. The Administration should provide schools with technicians to assist teachers in computer education. ED responded that one of the recommendations in the consultation document on the Education Commission Report No. 7 was schools should be given more flexibility in the use of resources under a clear management and accountability system. The public tender procedures for such acquisition would ensure proper use of public funds and better maintenance service. Normally the life span of computers was above five years. Therefore the small number of outdated computers in schools would be replaced by up-dated models soon. The Chairman said that ED should balance the pros and cons of the public tender procedures and the direct purchase arrangements. Representatives of the Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Association (HKISPA) said that some large computer companies were willing to enter into a supply agreement to provide updated models of computers in exchange of outdated ones.

Internet service provision to schools

6. A member considered that, instead of relying on free Internet accounts to secondary schools provided by individual Internet Service Providers (ISPs), better Internet service could be provided to schools if the service was exclusively provided by a designated ISP.

7. Representatives of HKISPA opined that such exclusive provision of Internet service could facilitate exchange of views and information between schools through the Internet and enhance students’ access to Internet.

8. Representatives of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) said that in 1994 or so CUHK launched a project entitled "Schoolnet" to provide Internet service to a number of schools. The scope of the service, which cost about $200,000, was wider than the free service arranged by ED. It was estimated that $200 million would be required for all schools to have access to Internet.

9. Representative of the Hong Kong Institute of Education supported project(s) like "Schoolnet" to provide Internet service to all secondary and primary schools in Hong Kong. He opined that ED should set up a steering committee to promote computer education in schools. Training and guidelines should be provided to teachers to avoid using incorrect information on the Internet.

10. Representative of ED pointed out that ED allowed schools to choose which ever Internet service they preferred, i.e. Schoolnet or free Internet accounts provided by the four ISPs. Regarding the use of hardware as a teaching aid to improve quality of school education, ED considered that CD-ROMs could provide an interactive learning environment for students while Internet could provide updated information. As such CD-ROMs and the Internet performed complementary functions. ED encouraged schools to create their own home pages on the Internet to enhance communications between schools. In this connection, training sessions on creation of home pages had been provided to schools and more of these would be conducted in the near future.

Membership composition of IIAC and its task forces

Public participation in IIAC meetings

11. Representative of the Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) went over OFTA’s paper [Paper No. CB(2)1749/96-97 (03) referred] which informed members of the establishment of the Information Infrastructure Advisory Committee (IIAC), its programme of work and establishment of three special task forces on Regulatory Framework, Technical Standards and Applications. At the Chairman’s request, OFTA undertook to provide members with the discussion papers for the first IIAC meeting.

[Post-meeting note : The discussion papers were circulated to members vide Paper No. CB(2)1993/96-97 (01).]

12. Representative of the Asia Television Limited (ATV) expressed concern on the lack of representation for the press and the communications field in IIAC.

13. Representative of OFTA said that OFTA had tried to ensure a balanced representative membership within the optimal size of IIAC. Consideration would be given to the need for appointing other suitable persons to IIAC, in the light of operational experience. IIAC would focus mainly on the development of the broadband physical structure while accepting ideas and inputs on potential applications. Meetings of IIAC were open to the public. The public could have access to the agendas, papers and minutes of meetings through OFTA’s Internet home page and Bulletin Board Service. If time permitted, there would be an "Open Session" (up to 15 minutes) at each IIAC meeting to give interested members of the public an opportunity to express their views on different issues. Such views would be recorded as part of the minutes of meetings. The public were welcome to indicate their interest in the membership of the three task forces under IIAC or submit nominations to OFTA. The Telecommunications Authority would appoint convenors and members of the task forces taking into account the background of individual nominees and the optimal composition of different task forces.

Joint submission from the Hong Kong Information Technology Federation (HKITF) and HKISPA

[Paper No. CB(2)1749/96-97 (04)]

14. Representatives of HKITF and HKISPA took members through their joint submission. They recommended that the Government should take immediate steps to establish an Information Society Task Force under the authority and patronage of the Governor (the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) after the handover) and under the chairmanship of prominent representative of the private sector, probably an ExCo Member. The objectives, structure and membership of the proposed Task Force were set out in para 6 - 12 of the submission. In conclusion, the HKITF and HKISPA urged that their recommendations should be considered by the Legislative Council and the highest levels of Government as a matter of urgency.

Submission from the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE)

[Paper No. CB(2)1814/96-97 (01)]

15. Representatives of HKIE went over HKIE’s submission tabled at the meeting. To realise Cyber Economy, HKIE recommended setting up a ‘Top Team’ with top management support (i.e. the Chief Executive of HKSAR, the Executive Council, Legislative Council etc.) and proper people involvement (i.e. government departments, utility, private firms of different industries, education institutions etc.) to develop Road Maps on Application, Technology, and People set out in para 4 - 5 of its submission.

Views of the Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB)

16. Representatives of TVB were concerned about the impact of the advent of information society on Hong Kong’s economic development and productivity. TVB would organise seminars on this issue in early 1998.

1997 Telecommunications Review

17. Referring to an extract of the public consultation paper on the 1997 Telecommunications Review tabled at the meeting [Paper No. CB(2)1814/96-97 (02)], representatives of ESB said that views expressed at the meeting fell within the broad scope of the Review. Its objectives were as follows -

  1. examining, on the completion of 18 months since the opening up of local telephone service to competition, the current state of development of Hong Kong’s telecommunications industry;
  2. formulating policy options to respond to the foreseeable development of telecommunications technologies and the convergence of telecommunications, broadcasting and information technologies; and
  3. developing strategic options, with a full analysis of "pros" and "cons" to maintain Hong Kong’s leading position in telecommunications and competitiveness in the Information Age.

The first objective covered the physical information infrastructure while the second and third objectives covered implications of the infrastructure on the society. Views of members and deputations would be taken into account in the Review. In reply to the Chairman, representatives of ESB pointed out that, pending analysis of the submissions received in the consultation exercise ending on 11 April 1997, it was unable to devise a concrete timetable of the Review at this stage. It would report progress of the Review at the Panel meeting on 6 June 1997.

18. The meeting ended at 12:20 pm.

LegCo Secretariat
12 May 1997

Last Updated on 20 August 1998