|Please do not reply to this message.
If you cannot see this message properly, please click here.
An event of great significance to Hong Kong’s education occurred on Monday 22 May: more than 20 representatives, including myself, from major education organisations, had a meeting with Chief Executive-elect, at which she presented her future education policy guidelines and her initial plan for the use of the newly added recurrent expenditure of $5 billion on education.
The current-term Government's spending on education has been shrinking, and expenditure on education as a percentage of Government’s public expenditure has become the lowest since the reversion of sovereignty. However, the teaching and non-teaching workloads of schools have been increasing, which has disturbed teachers’ normal teaching work. PTU has therefore, over the years, been actively striving for an increase in teaching resources so as to release teachers' space. Only then can the quality of teaching and learning be enhanced.
What is gratifying is that Mrs Lam has responded positively to most of the views expressed by PTU. She even hopes that provisions for some of the improvement items can be approved when the new-term Government takes office in July and before the Legislative Council goes into recess so that funds can be used right at the start of the new school year in September to relieve pressure arising from pressing problems now confronting the education sector.
First of all, the strongest consensus PTU shares with others in the education sector is improving class-teacher ratios in secondary and primary schools, i.e., increasing the number of teachers on the establishment of schools. Mrs Lam proposes, according to media reports, increasing class-teacher ratios by 0.1, which means creating 2 to 3 regular teaching posts per school. We believe that improving class-teacher ratios, which stabilizes the teaching profession and enhances the quality of education, will bring about substantial progress because schools will be able to employ as regular teachers existing contract teachers or excess teachers (i.e. those above a school’s establishment), who are on the verge of dismissal. This, however, still falls short of our expectation. Hopefully, this is just the beginning and there will be continuous improvements in the future.
Secondly, we need to deal with integrated education, that is, to enable students with special educational needs to integrate into main-stream schools so that they can all study together. Reportedly, Mrs Lam will make SENCOs (Special Educational Needs Coordinators) – currently being implemented on a trial basis – a regular feature and gradually extend it to every public secondary and primary school. In addition, students taking degree programmes in self-financing institutions will be given a financial subsidy of reportedly $30,000 a year. These are proposals which PTU has been pushing for over the years and hence they have our absolute support.
As regards early childhood education, our primary aspiration is the implementation of a pay scale for kindergarten teachers. While this was clearly written down in Mrs Lam’s election campaign platform, establishing a pay scale reportedly involves complicated systemic problems and Mrs Lam is said to prefer, as a start, extending the ‘Tide-over Grant’ for kindergarten teachers and allowing their pay to be adjusted by reference to pay adjustments for civil servants, instead of the price index. We appreciate the complexity of the issue, but we are worried that this might turn out to be a long-drawn process. We hope that Mrs Lam will, soonest possible, come up with a clear-cut timetable for the implementation of a pay scale for kindergarten teachers, which is the most direct and effective way to ensure the quality of our kindergarten education.
As Mrs Lam’s existing proposals amount only to $3.6 billion, much more can be done and more policies can be refined. The education sector hopes that this is simply a starting point. The Government should, once again, attach importance to education, solve the problems accumulated over the years and put forward an appropriate blueprint for reinvigorating our education.
Your views on policy implementation by the new Government would be most welcome. They could be emailed to [email protected].
Representative of Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union
in Legislative Council,
Hon IP Kin-yuen
|HON IP KIN YUEN Newsletter :|
May 2016│Jun 2016│Jul 2016│Oct 2016│Nov 2016│Dec 2016│Jan 2017│Feb 2017│Mar 2017│Apr 2017
‧For enquiry and feedback, please email to Office of Legislative Councillor IP Kin-yuen : [email protected]
葉建源議員辦事處 Office of Legislative Councillor Ip Kin Yuen (Education Constituency)
Corresponding Address：Room 919, Legislative Council Complex, 1 Legislative Council Road, Central, Hong Kong