The EOC Reports on Work Plans and Progress
Members of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) met on 18 September 2014 (Thursday) at the 107th EOC Meeting and discussed various matters related to the Commission’s business.
The Chairperson of the EOC, Dr. York CHOW, reported on the major work items that the Commission will embark on before the end of this year, namely organizing the 2014 EOC Forum to further enhance the Commission’s transparency and setting up a dedicated Multi-ethnic Task Force to promote racial integration and advocating equal opportunities for ethnic minorities (EMs).
After conducting two open forums successfully in 2012 and 2013, the Commission is in the process of organizing the EOC Forum 2014 to engage the public in constructive dialogues. It aims to enhance communications with the public and enlist support on its future work plans. Tentatively scheduled for 13 November, the 2014 Forum will be held at the Shek Mun Campus of the Hong Kong Baptist University in Shatin.
Dr. CHOW informed Members that in addition to providing a brief report on the EOC’s major work achievements, the upcoming public forum would focus on presenting the progress of the EOC’s three major work priorities, which included (i) learning Chinese as a second language by EM students; (ii) Integrated Education for students with special educational needs (SEN); and (iii) the EOC’s work on age discrimination in employment.
With deep concerns on the issue of education for our new generations, the EOC has taken concrete steps to advocate for equal education opportunities for EM students and students with SEN. To advocate for effective Chinese language support for EM students, the EOC released the “Report on the Working Group on Education for EMs” in 2011. The EOC also publicized the findings of the “Study on Equal Learning Opportunities for Students with Disabilities under the Integrated Education System” and put forward recommendations for improvement to the Government in 2012. Since then the EOC made repeated appeals to the Government and the Education Bureau.
These efforts have contributed to the Government’s undertaking to provide additional resources in 2014/15 and beyond to address the issues faced by EM students and students with SEN. In the EOC Annual Forum 2014, the responsible Government officials will be invited to provide an update on their initiatives, yardsticks for measuring their effectiveness and the way forward.
Taking into account the requests of the stakeholders at the EOC Forum 2013 that a high priority should be accorded to the problem of age discrimination in employment, the Commission has made strenuous effort to follow up on the issue. In addition to releasing the “Study on Discrimination in the Hong Kong Workplace” which confirmed that age discrimination was the most common form of discrimination in employment, the EOC will share more information and data on the issue with the stakeholders in the forthcoming Forum.
The Forum will feature a sharing by Professor Randy CHIU who conducted a research entitled “Age Smart Management : Results and Implications of 2014 Survey on Managing Older Employees and Young Talents”. Further, the progress and details of the EOC’s “Exploratory Study on Age Discrimination in Employment” will be outlined so as to enhance the stakeholders’ understanding on this new area of work.
With an additional recurrent funding of $4.69M from the Government for promoting racial equality from 2014/15, the EOC is setting up a Multi-ethnic Task Force to enhance its work in the areas of public education, training, community outreach and liaison with schools, stakeholders, employers and service organizations, to strengthen support in addressing the education and employment needs of EMs as well as fostering social integration. The new Task Force will also monitor the Government’s policy on the EMs and its effects, especially in education and employment. EOC Members noted that the relevant staff recruitment exercise is underway.
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Equal Opportunities Commission
18 September 2014