CDNIS: Canada officially booted from Canadian school

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CDNIS Members, the overseers of the Board, have finally delivered on their promise to take the Canada out of The Canadian School.


Note: The author and Harbour Times Editor in Chief is the President of The Canadian Club of Hong Kong.


In the end, it took one meeting to have Canada kicked out of the Canadian School.

Since the beginning of the organisation, The Canadian Club of Hong Kong, The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, the Chinese Canadian Association and the Canadian Consulate General have had ex-officio seats and active participation in the life of the school. The travails of the school, as Members and their administration alienated parents, the Canadian community and staff, have been well-chronicled here and in local and Canadian national media.

The Chamber and the Club will have no more role to play at the School. Neither organisation was contacted about the change and learned about it second hand.

The Consul General has been offered the maintenance of the non-voting, ceremonial role of Honorary President. It remains to be seen if the Consul General, currently out of Hong Kong, will choose to keep the position given the change of status.

The Chinese Canadian Association head since forever, Spencer Lee, is a Member coordinating the ‘reform’ with the Board and will remain on for another 15 years, assuming his longevity permits.

From a letter to the Parents:

There will be no ex-officio governors representing any outside association or organisation including the Chinese Canadian Association, the Canadian Club of Hong Kong, the Canadian Consul General for Hong Kong, and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. The Canadian Consul General for Hong Kong will continue to serve as Honorary President of the School.

Herbert Chow, a former Governor (2005) and parent of 16 years with three children, was “shocked to learn that after twenty odd years of a successful relationship working with these Canadian entities, that the Board has decided to no longer have these entities and their representatives involved with the School.

This demonstrates that the Members are unable to accept constructive criticisms and unable to conduct open discussions with people of opposing views.”


Reform meagre; entrenchment strengthened

Other reforms make that unlikely. Other reform measures have been well-chronicled here, including how their reform decisions ignored the recommendations of a task force created to make recommendations. Some reforms have been weakened even further. For example, the task force recommended an 8 year term limit for Members. They later ignored it to recommend 15 years. The latest announcement indicates no term limits but instead states, “Historically, there has been no Term Limit for Members. Members have now committed to basically, that for each year, one of the longest serving Members will retire.”

“The Consul General has been offered a non-voting, ceremonial role of Honorary President. It remains to be seen if the Consul General, currently out of Hong Kong, will accept.

The phrasing suggests no statutory requirement exists and does not specify the mechanism by which that Member will be chosen.

Mr Chow was adamant, “Members who supported this decisions  should step down –  now.”

Also, recommendations for parents’ and faculty representatives on the Board continue to be ignored.

Governance has been the main stumbling block to Council of International School accreditation and appears to remain so. The School remains the odd man out among Hong Kong’s most expensive schools in lacking accreditation, leaving it in a disadvantage to its international school competitors.