SCMP Saturday, December 9, 2000
Education Department staff should be sent into frontline
The more we spend on education, the worse the results seem to be. Education resources are being seriously misallocated and there are two main reasons for this. The first is the heavy curriculum, and the second is an overstaffed but inefficient Education Department. Regarding the curriculum, will people really get smarter if more is being taught? Not necessarily. After all, great thinkers, from Aristotle to Confucius, created knowledge and understanding of the world from their own life experiences. A heavy curriculum results in nothing but students able to tackle exam questions and recite information.
The second reason for the misallocation of resources is an oversupply of bureaucrats. Why do we need so many administrators in the Education Department when our schools are crying out for teachers?
The Secretary of Education and Manpower has a big challenge ahead of her. Her charter is to trim the administration while expanding the teaching resources. Since many of the Education Department staff used to be teachers, I would suggest that she transfers a good proportion of the staff into schools. What parents in Hong Kong need is a better education system and better schools, not a big but inefficient administration. What taxpayers in Hong Kong need is better allocation of resources.