The LegCo Reporter
Issue No. 10 (19 January 2006)

At its meeting on 18 January 2006, the Legislative Council passed the following two motions with no legislative effect:

(1)Motion on "Reducing the workload of and mental stress on teachers", moved by Hon MA Lik as amended by Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong and further amended by Hon Jasper TSANG Yok-sing

"That, as the pressure of work on and the non-teaching duties taken up by teachers have been increasing, which not only impair the effectiveness of teaching but also jeopardize the physical and mental health of teachers, this Council urges the Administration to face up to the problems of work pressure and suicide among teachers and to formulate effective measures to reduce the workload of and mental stress on teachers, including:
(a)reviewing the pace of education and curriculum reforms as well as the priorities of education policies, and abolishing the unreasonable education policies; strengthening communication with front-line teachers, and fully evaluating the impact of various education reform initiatives on the work of teachers and making appropriate adjustments;
(b)eliminating unnecessary non-teaching duties at schools and counting the administrative work that has to be retained as part of a teacher's workload, so as to enable schools to have sufficient manpower to make appropriate arrangements in adjusting and allocating the non-teaching duties at schools;
(c)enhancing the teacher-student ratios in schools by reducing the class sizes and increasing the establishment of teaching staff, so as to improve the teaching environment, maximize the effectiveness of learning and teaching, and upgrade the quality of teaching;
(d)providing substitute teachers for those teachers who pursue in-service studies, and implementing a genuine 'paid study leave' scheme to alleviate the stress on teachers arising from their studies;
(e)expanding the coverage of specialized teaching, reducing the teaching sessions for teachers, increasing school social workers and resource teachers for supportive educational programmes, employing additional supporting staff to handle non-teaching and administrative duties, etc, and including in the establishment those contract teachers who are currently outside the establishment; and
(f)caring about the psychological and mental health of teachers by enhancing the pre-service and in-service psychological health training for teachers and setting up a teacher health centre."

(2)Motion on "Assisting in the transformation of enterprises which ceased operation due to the Government's new policies", moved by Hon Vincent FANG Kang

"That, as the Government, when introducing new policies in recent years, has often failed to assess the impacts of the new policies on the economic environment and the affected enterprises, and the assistance given to the trades or enterprises concerned is mostly restricted to ex gratia payments, instead of actively helping them to transform, and as many affected trades have difficulties in transforming their business on their own due to their relatively low technology and capital intensity levels, the new policies have strangled the survival of many enterprises and rendered many people unemployed, this Council urges the Government to:
(a)conduct risk assessment on the impacts of new policies before introducing them, and to strike a proper balance after clearly and fully assessing the impacts of the new policies on public interests and the trades;
(b)fully consult the trades before making any important policy decisions; and
(c)set up an inter-departmental working committee to provide various kinds of suitable assistance to the operators and employees of the affected enterprises, so as to help them transform."