CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 8 September 2018

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Bishop asks for prayer for judicial review on education

HONG KONG (SE): A judicial review in the Court of Final Appeal granted in favour of a petition filed by the diocese of Hong Kong against the Education (Amendment) Ordinance 2004, passed in the Legislative Council in July 2004, requiring the introduction of Incorporated Management Bodies in partly-funded government-aided schools will be heard on October 3 and 4.

Bishop John Tong Hon is appealing to all people in the diocese to offer special prayers for the future of Catholic education in Hong Kong during September and the first week of October while the appeal is being heard.

The legislation was originally intended to be implemented on 1 January 2005, but in the face of opposition, the implementation date has been extended several times and currently is set for 2012.

In February last year, the diocese lost a judicial review in the Court of First Instance, when Frank Justice Stock, Wally Justice Yeung Chun-kuen, and Michael Justice Hartmann ruled that the legislation is constitutional.

However, later in the year, a judicial review to be heard in the Court of Final Appeal was granted, as it was noted that the matter is of extreme importance to the whole community of the special administrative region and to the future of education in the territory.

In a statement issued on February 3 last year, the diocese stated, “With the passing of the Education (Amendment) Ordinance 2004, the government will no longer be providing school education in collaboration with the School Sponsoring Bodies, but is simply causing the School Sponsoring Bodies to devolve their management authority upon the Incorporated Management Committees.”

The diocese has continually worried that with the introduction of a 60 per cent appointed and 40 per cent elected Incorporated Management Committee running its schools, the ability of the School Sponsoring Body to animate the school with its own vision and mission ethos could be threatened, and Catholic schools could lose their Catholic flavour.

The bishop has asked that a special prayer of the faithful be prayed at all Masses in the diocese during September and on October 2.

The prayer reads, “May the Lord grant local education policy-makers wisdom, great breadth of vision and open-mindedness, to enable them to respect and appreciate the educational beliefs and ethos of different school sponsoring bodies, to accommodate themselves to different modes of school management and support them, and to assess the merits of educational endeavours from the long term perspective.”

… with the introduction of a 60 per cent appointed and 40 per cent elected Incorporated Management Committee running its schools, the ability of the School Sponsoring Body to animate the school with its own vision and mission ethos could be threatened

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