Equal Opportunities Commission


Press Releases

Press Releases

EOC Organizes Seminar to Discuss the Future Development of the SSPA System


The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) today (8 November 1999) organized a seminar on "Equal Opportunities in Education: Boys and Girls in the 21st Century". More than 200 persons – including principals, teachers and members of concern groups, attended the seminar.

The report of the formal investigation in August 1999 by the EOC found that the SSPA System, used by the Education Department to allocate places for Primary 6 students to Secondary Schools, discriminates on the ground of sex. The EOC recommended that the Government review the Allocation System in light of the findings to ensure that boys and girls are placed into secondary schools in a way that does not discriminate against either sex.

In her welcoming address, Ms. Anna Wu, Chairperson of the EOC, emphasized the importance of having equal opportunities in education. She also expressed her wish to work in partnership with the education sector to make the necessary changes so that our children can be prepared for the 21st century.

Speakers at the Seminar included overseas experts in the educational field, representatives from the Government and concern group, and an expert from the legal profession.

In her presentation, Dr. Carol Anne Dwyer, Executive Director, Education Policy and Program Research Division, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, United States pointed out that there is no difference in intellectual development rate between boys and girls although girls' rates of social and physical development are faster than those of boys from birth to puberty. In respect of the gender ratio in co-educational schools, she said there is no evidence that equal number of boys and girls is necessary to obtaining a good education.

Dr. Catherine Keatley, a cognitive psychologist, spoke on the difference between law and education. She said that the Education Department should comply with the law and also address the fundamental educational needs of individual boys and girls.

Mr. K. S. Lee, Principal Assistant Secretary for the Education and Manpower, briefly introduced the Education Commission's consultation document and the future development of the Allocation System. He urged that the education sector submit their views on the proposed framework for education reform.

Mr. Tik Chi Yuen, Chairman of the Committee on Home-School Cooperation Unit, shared his view on the present system from a parent's perspective.

Mr. Andrew Byrnes, Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Comparative and Public Law at the University of Hong Kong, explained the concept of affirmative action and its application under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance in Hong Kong.

Enquiry: EOC Hotline 25118211