BOW Sui May
Doctor of Social Sciences
Ms Bow Sui May has been instrumental in the development of special education, and in particular, the education of children with hearing impairments - initially in Hong Kong, and subsequently in Mainland China as well.
She is not only a teacher and educator, but also a strategist, advocate, lobbyist, fundraiser, counsellor, and innovative agent for change. In addressing the educational needs of this group of children, she has also transformed the way our society thinks about those living with disabilities.
In 1956, Ms Bow joined the Hong Kong School for the Deaf as a teacher and became its Principal in 1968. She lobbied tirelessly to secure the necessary support staff and resources for her work, including audiology technicians, speech therapists and social workers. She petitioned for the recognition of nursery school teacher qualifications and a salary scale, and also established standard Chinese and English courses in deaf schools. Prior to the establishment of public hearing healthcare services, her school pioneered audiometric testing for school-aged children with hearing impediments. As a result of her endeavours, eventually all special schools would be officially recognised by the government and receive funding on par with regular schools, enabling them to hire professionally trained teachers.
Thanks to her leadership, HKU launched Hong Kong's first professional training programme for speech therapists in 1988 and for audiologists in 1996.
Ms Bow was the Chairman of the 1st Asian Pacific Regional Conference on Deafness in Hong Kong in 1986 and also subsequent conferences in Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Korea, China, Australia, Taiwan and Japan to upgrade the education of children with hearing impairments to international standards.
From 1998 onwards, Ms Bow directed her focus on developing education for hearing-impaired children in Mainland China, acting principally through the Ying Wa Fisherman Association, of which she is a Founding Member. She did this with the same level of dedication and drive she demonstrated in Hong Kong, completely reforming the education system for the deaf on the Mainland and earning her national acclaim.
Ms Bow is a Founding Member of the Hong Kong Society for the Deaf. Her contributions earned her an Outstanding Young Person Award in 1976 and a Medal of Honour in 1996. She was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1994.
In recognition of her contributions to Hong Kong society and education, the University has resolved to confer upon her the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences honoris causa.