26 September 2023

HONG KONG: College head to plot ‘a global vision’

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The newly-appointed head of Hong Kong’s Civil Service College says its main objective is not to foster patriotism among Government staff, but to give graduates a sense of duty and a stronger global vision.

Former Deputy Police Commissioner, Oscar Kwok Yam-shu emphasised that national identity and mainland Chinese policies were major areas of training, but his primary role as the college head was to fight for more resources to build a broader-based educational framework.

“In this way Civil Servants at different levels can learn more about leadership skills and international affairs,” Mr Kwok (pictured) said.

“Geopolitical developments will affect people’s lives and the city’s governance, so the Civil Service needs to have a stronger global vision, and be more sensitive and knowledgeable about international politics.”

He said his biggest difficulty was lack of manpower, lack of structure in the college and the acquisition of resources — “this will be my first priority”.

Mr Kwok (57), who took on his new job last month, ran the Foundation Training Centre of the Hong Kong Police College between 2007 and 2010 and was a Deputy Police Commissioner from 2019 until he retired in April.

The launch of the Civil Service College last December and the appointment of Mr Kwok were seen by critics as an attempt to make Government employees more patriotic and dedicated to supporting the administration’s work in the wake of social unrest in 2019.

Dozens of Government employees were among those arrested three years ago; some young bureaucrats set up a union and organised a strike to protest against the Government’s policies.

Pro-Beijing legislators have since appealed to the Hong Kong Government to weed out disloyal elements from among the city’s 180,000 Public Servants.

However, Mr Kwok denied the college would be used to purge the Public Service, pointing out that it was proposed by former Chief Executive, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in her 2017 policy address, before the protests erupted.

Hong Kong, 6 August 2022

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