On the campus of
Right next to Procter Hall, indeed there is a
On the campus of
Right next to Procter Hall, indeed there is a
2. 2. Slaughtered pigs delivered to a roasted meat shop (燒臘店) from the slaughter house, a common sight around
3. Animals in undignified postures?
4. Cute pigs cruelly murdered?
5. It cannot be avoided but it is still better not to see it?
Another image came to mind immediately. A college student was interviewed on TV last week. At 2 AM, he was wandering with his friends on the streets in Mongkok, because the game parlor that they were in just closed. No problem. Because soon afterwards, the 4 of them were each holding a game machine, playing each other in a 24-hour fast food restaurant. At day break, he finally return home exhausted. Later he was found strolling towards the classroom. He was late, since he could not get up in time. But he did not care, he was used to it already.
Will some of the field hockey-playing kids be like him in 15 years time? His is obviously not the best scenario but certainly also not the worst. Some of the kids will grow up to score As in the public examinations and enter university. Many more, however, will fail in every single subject. Some lives will be totally wasted. Why? What can we do to prevent it? Many of them fail not because of inherent poor intelligence and attitude.
As parents, we have responsibilities over a few of them. As teachers, we can influence many more. What is the impact then of high ranking officials deciding far-ranging policies? For example, having studied English for 13+ years, why is it even many of our university students cannot write in decent Chinese or English?
Many people aspire to that policy-making power. If given that power, however, I will probably endure many sleepless nights wandering what went wrong, and what can be done to provide our kids with the opportunities, the environment, the support, the incentives, the motivations, to strive to succeed. But the flippant attitude of some of the officials are scary.
After the test, the lecturer agreed that the situation was not ideal, and proposed to discount the question in question. Some students supported it, but some others were opposed. So the lecturer decided to delay the decision until after the Easter holidays, upon further consultations. At this point a student posted a big-character-poster on the Democracy Wall on campus, roughly one week before the Easter holidays.
The day before the Easter break I caught up with the author of the poster to understand the situation. At this point a few students have added comments to the original poster, some were in support, and others not. But it wasn’t attracting a lot of attention. The author told me I was the first and only academic staff to contact him up to that point.
After the Easter break, the case was reported in a popular newspaper, and suddenly there was an avalanche of actions, posters, comments and signatures, overflowing the Democracy Wall and attracting big crowds. More details came to light. Allegedly the sample solution was also posted on WebCT before the test, hence available to all students, but not all students were aware of it. The department head went with the lecturer to meet with the class to sort out the situation. At this moment it is not clear whether this case is all finished.
I do not intend to take a particular position on this matter. But two things struck me: Firstly, that there seems to be a large number of students sympathetic to the lecturer. The feeling seems to be that: yes, he probably could have been more careful in making the arrangements for the test, but he wasn’t being unfair; he tried hard to resolve the matter once it was discovered, and above all, he was a good teacher. Secondly, many students think the case is an internal matter which should be handled within the university; getting the newspaper involved was a mistake, damaging to the university and everyone involved.
It does not eliminate the incentives of those helped to help themselves – an extra dollar earned always means more money available for expenditure. The system fits directly into the current income tax system. It substitutes for the present rag bag of measures directed at the same end – the total administration burden would surely be reduced.
The system is simple, and directly helps those that help is intended for – the poor. More control will be shifted to the citizens from the government bureaucracy – a smaller government. Guess where the opposition will be coming from?
Milton Friedman proposed in his book, Capitalism and Freedom published in 1962, a school voucher system. To summarize: it is desirable for a society to (2) impose a minimum required level of schooling, and (2) finance this schooling by the state. It can be achieved by giving parents vouchers redeemable at any approved schools. The role of the government is limited to ensuring that the schools meet certain minimum requirements. There is no need to combine the administration of schools with their financing.
It may well mean smaller governmental expenditures on schooling, yet higher total expenditures – because parents can spend more on education if they so wish. The equivalent in
He also observed that in government-administered schools, salary schedules tend to be uniform and determined for more by seniority, degrees received, and teaching certificates acquired than merit. The alternative would resolve these problems and permit competition to be effective in rewarding merit and attracting ability to teaching.Despite the obvious advantages, such a system is naturally going to be opposed strongly by the government bureaucracy. Not only will much of the control over education be passed from the government to private citizens, the government machinery will also be greatly reduced in size. Just witness the pseudo-voucher system being proposed for kindergartens in
Just as in the past, there were some flowers in one of the pots this year (the picture was actually taken in 2006). But one of the flower pots had fallen down so I put it back upright – I am glad there is a little bit that I can do to show my respect. This year I have taken my whole family there, except my eldest daughter, who was away in a camp. My second daughter courageously tried to read through all the inscriptions.I am hoping that 蔡元培 continues to be remembered and be a role model for us. Education is much more than administration or even the passing of knowledge. It is not very often these days to have people in prominent positions in education who command high respect with their courage and moral certitude.
The current problems between the IEd (
The EMB sets the policies on education in
One way to reduce the possibility of conflicts of interest, mistakes, and abuses is to separate the three powers, and vest them in agencies relatively independent from each other.
People steel metal from it. A men I found picking up metal bars told me he can make up to a hundred dollars a day. Other people came armed with trucks, cranes and blow torches. Note the missing metal grates, they are too heavy to be carried by hand. Yet the only ones remaining are those under the huge cement blocks.
Some people ride bicycles there. Others fly model airplanes. South Asian kids sneaked in to play cricket. How did I take these pictures? I sneaked in after them the same way, of course. Unfortunately, most of the holes in the fences have been patched up recently. I was still able to sneak in with my daughter last week, but it was much harder.