Should teachers’ registration status be made available for public scrutiny? Below is my response to EDB’s (the Education Bureau of the Hong Kong Government) public consultation on the matter, which I have sent them before the deadline of September 7.
I am writing, as a member of the general public, to give my response to EDB’s consultation document regarding disclosure of teachers’ registration information.
Overall, I support the release of an official register of qualified teachers which will be available for public scrutiny.
Other than the 3 benefits cited in your consultation document (paragraph 3.2), disclosure of teachers’ registration information is one step towards further professionalisation of the teaching profession. It accords a sense of pride to fully qualified teachers. It helps to make them even more accountable to their professional responsibilities.
Although the document cautions against possible infringement on personal privacy, this concern should not be inflated to override other equally, if not more, important considerations, such as the public’s right to know whether someone is qualified to teach or not. In any case, publication of the list of qualified practitioners has existed in many other professions, such as doctors, dentists, social workers, accountants, etc., for years, and personal privacy has never been an issue.
The consultation document has laid out a few technical issues, such as how to ensure that the publicised list remains updated. In my view, the disclosure may commence on a voluntary basis – qualified and registered teachers (RTs) who wish to have their names included in the publicised list will apply to EDB to have their names listed. Thereafter, EDB will contact them on a yearly basis to see if they wish their names to remain on the list.
Admittedly, the list thus produced will not cover all teachers registered with EDB. But given the fact that the disclosure is to their advantage, most teachers will apply to EDB to have their names listed. EDB could then add a note to the official register that it may not include all registered teachers. This arrangement will also allay the concern that the employment status of PTs (permitted teachers) will be indirectly disclosed.
Thank you for your attention.
Dr Paul Sze