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Education (Amdt.) (No. 2) Bill

Tuesday, May 02, 2000

are putting in a board for each school, as against the private schools. But you cannot divide the public schools like this and say of all the government schools, “I will put a board in each school and if the denominational schools want to follow what we are doing, they can follow us.”

All these schools are funded by the Government and, therefore—I do not want to say that it is discrimination or anything like that—I am saying that you just cannot do it that way; it is not fair. That does not mean to say that I am agreeing with the school boards at all, but even with the concept something is wrong.

You cannot tell the Anglican board, for example, with many schools, “You continue with your one board for all the schools, but I am the Government. Non- denominational. I will put a board for each school.” Something is wrong with the concept, if I am getting it right. Something seems to be wrong, to me, and probably the hon. Minister will have to clarify that for me, because it does not seem right. It seems that something is wrong, because this is one system.

When we were talking about the Common Entrance Examination, the Continuous Assessment Programme and all those things, you did not say that the government schools will have that and the denominational schools will have something else; all are public schools and you were doing it across the board. Therefore, even in the concept of how this is being put out, I feel that something is wrong.

Sen. Kuei Tung: I thank the hon. Senator for giving way. Senator I wonder whether you will give us a comment, an opinion of yours, as to whether you think the government schools are performing at the same level as the denominational schools, seeing that you are insisting that it is one system?

Sen. J. Yuille-Williams: Hon. Minister, I really do not know if I want to answer directly. I do not think it is a case of performance now, because this issue of school boards has a lot to do with physical management; no. When I come to the end I will show you how I think it should be organized. What I am saying is that on paper, the concept seems to be flawed, and I will tell you why.

As I said before, all are public schools as against private and, therefore, I could not see you putting this in the public schools, each one with a board as against all the Anglican, Hindu and Muslim schools with their own board; that is all I am saying. Something seems to be wrong. There is no other place where I have seen you separating the government schools and doing something with them, as against the denominational schools; that is what I am saying, it is the concept.

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