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[Archive] Quality Education

Enhancing Quality and Opportunity Promoting All-Round Development

Targets for the next year

To enhance language standard

  • We shall extend the provision of Native-speaking English Teachers (NETs) and English Language Teaching Assistants (ELTAs) to primary schools from the 2002/03 school year.
  • The Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR) is conducting a comprehensive review of the curriculum, teacher training, pedagogy and support measures relating to language education. SCOLAR is expected to make recommendations to the Government in 2002.
  • We shall promote "Learning through Reading" with a view to cultivating students' good reading habits and self-learning techniques.

To strengthen professional development of teachers

  • The Advisory Committee on Teacher Education and Qualifications (ACTEQ) will consider measures to strengthen pre-service training, induction and continuing professional development for teachers in 2002. ACTEQ will also consider measures to identify and reward outstanding teachers and enable them to exercise their professional expertise more fully.

To improve early childhood education

  • We shall encourage the employment of qualified kindergarten teachers through enhancing the Kindergarten Subsidy Scheme. The target is to have a 100% qualified kindergarten teaching force by the 2004/05 school year.
  • Starting from the 2002/03 school year, all newly recruited kindergarten principals should have completed the Certificate in Education (Kindergarten) course.
  • Starting from the 2002/03 school year, we will further enhance the Kindergarten Fee Remission Scheme with special consideration for the needs of single parent families and to let parents have more choices. We estimate that over 40 000 students will benefit.
  • The Education Department and the Social Welfare Department are examining the harmonisation of the operation and regulatory system of kindergartens and child care centres, and will consult the public in 2002.

To strengthen support for primary schools

  • Starting from the 2002/03 school year, additional resources will be provided to enhance guidance service for primary school students. Schools may engage, according to their own needs, the service of student guidance teachers or social workers to deal with student problems.
  • Depending on the readiness of the school, we shall provide in stages for each primary school one additional Primary School Master/ Mistress to serve as curriculum leaders.
  • We shall provide a lump sum grant for schools to continue to engage IT support and co-ordination services in 2002/03 and 2003/04 school years. A review of the longer term arrangement will be carried out in 2003.
  • Starting from the 2001/02 school year, we shall implement the Understanding the Adolescent Project in primary schools on a pilot basis.
  • Starting from the 2001/02 school year, school-based professional support will be provided to some 200 primary schools per annum to enhance teaching effectiveness, facilitate the development of school-based curriculum and the improvement of school management and organisation as well as support for students.
  • We shall introduce the prototype of Student Assessment of the Basic Competency Assessment (BCA) at Primary Three in mid-2002. The BCA aims to help schools and teachers identify students' learning needs so as to facilitate the provision of appropriate assistance to needy students.
  • Starting from the 2002/03 school year, we shall improve student financial assistance for primary school students, with emphasis on the needs of single parent families. We estimate that over 30 000 students will benefit.

To increase support for secondary schools

  • We shall raise the Capacity Enhancement Grant (CEG) by 50% from the 2002/03 school year. The maximum amount of CEG will then be $450,000 per school.
  • We shall provide a lump sum grant for schools to continue to engage IT support and co-ordination services in 2002/03 and 2003/04 school years. A review of the longer term arrangement will be carried out in 2003.
  • Starting from the 2001/02 school year, we shall progressively implement the Understanding the Adolescent Project in all secondary schools.
  • Starting from the 2001/02 school year, school-based professional support will be provided to some 150 secondary schools per annum to enhance teaching effectiveness, facilitate the development of school-based curriculum and the improvement of school management and organisation as well as support for students.
  • To nurture gifted students, we have started implementing from 2001 a two-year enrichment programme for about 1 000 gifted students.
  • Starting from the 2002/03 school year, we shall improve student financial assistance for secondary school students, with emphasis on the needs of single parent families. It is estimated that over 30 000 students will benefit.

To further develop a diversified school system and expand opportunities for post-secondary education

  • We shall continue to encourage school sponsoring bodies to operate various types of senior secondary schools so as to nurture people of different talents.
  • We shall encourage the adoption of the "Through-train" mode to provide students with a more coherent learning process.
  • We shall continue to encourage tertiary institutions to provide diversified sub-degree courses.
  • The University Grant Committee has started the review on various aspects of tertiary education, including the governance structure, funding model, vision of each institution and quality assurance mechanism. A Report will be submitted to the Government in 2002.
  • The Education Commission is examining the feasibility of implementing a three-year academic structure for senior secondary education and its interface with higher education, including the implications of and necessary measures for extending the duration of first-degree programmes from three to four years. The Commission is expected to submit its recommendations to the Administration by 2002.

Highlight of Progress since 1997

"Education is the key to the future of Hong Kong. It provides a level playing field for all and the human resources for further economic development."

Mr Tung Chee Hwa,
Chief Executive, HKSAR,
1997 Policy Address

Since its establishment, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (HKSARG) has made significant investments in education. This has enabled qualitative and quantitative improvements to education. Last year, the Chief Executive accepted the recommendations of the Education Commission which aimed to enhance Hong Kong's competitiveness in a knowledge-based economy. Listed below are the significant achievements over 1997/98 to 2001/02 period.

Significant increase in education funding in order to enhance the level of education for all

One of the key responsibilities of the Government is to upgrade the quality of education and enhance manpower training so as to enable Hong Kong to brave the challenge of economic restructuring.

  • Total expenditure on education has increased from $42 billion 1 in 1997/98 to an estimated $55.3 billion in 2001/02. As a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product, the increase is from 3.2% to 4.4%.
  • Starting from the 2001/02 school year, the Government has started putting in place various measures to enable 60% of our senior secondary school leavers to receive post-secondary education within 10 years. This year, 36 self-financing sub-degree courses with a total of 6 500 post-secondary education places have been provided.
  • Starting from the 2002/03 school year, we shall provide adequate subsidised Secondary Four and training places to enable all Secondary Three students in publicly-funded schools, who have the ability and wish to continue their study. In order to meet the demand, we need to provide about 6 000 more subsidised Secondary Four places.
  • Project Springboard was launched in 2000 to provide an alternative route to continuing education for Secondary Five school leavers and adult learners.
  • We have enhanced the financial assistance for students and introduced tax deductible training allowance so as to encourage continuing personal development among the working population.

    1Taking into account the set up of the Quality Education Fund ($5 billion), the total expenditure of 1997/98 was $47 billion.

Professional enhancement of the teaching force and improving the quality of teaching

Education involves people nurturing people. Education effectiveness hinges greatly on teaching and learning. Among the factors influencing teaching and learning, the professional development of principals and teachers is critical.

To enhance the qualifications of teachers

Enhancing the qualifications of teachers can further strengthen the teaching force. Higher qualifications can help to bring about a broader outlook, greater self-confidence and reflective practices, which in turn will lead to more effective teaching. To this end, we have:-

  • raised the percentage of qualified kindergarten teachers from 40% to 65%;
  • raised the percentage of graduate teaching posts in primary schools from 4.8% to 35%;
  • maintained the percentage of graduate teaching posts in secondary schools at 70%.

To develop a professional teaching force

Education must cater for the diverse needs of students. Likewise, the implementation of education reform must be school-based, with priorities and strategies tailored to meet the unique conditions of each school. Towards this end, we must provide room for frontline educators to exercise professional autonomy and encourage them to strive for continuous professional development. In this connection, we have:-

  • set up district networks for principals and teachers to facilitate peer learning and collaboration as well as dissemination of successful experiences;
  • strengthened in-service teacher training and supported teachers' professional associations in promoting lifelong learning and continuous development among teachers;
  • identified good practices in outstanding schools and resource schools for reference by the education sector, with a view to promoting professional exchanges and collaboration.

To create more room for teachers

Measures have been taken to reduce the workload of teachers so that they can focus more on areas which impact directly on students' learning effectiveness, e.g., curriculum and teaching improvements and providing support to needy students. To this end, we have:-

  • gradually improved the teacher-student ratio from 1:22.7 to 1:21.7 for primary schools and from 1:19.9 to 1:18.5 for secondary schools. We have added 2 600 primary school teachers and 1 100 secondary school teachers 2;
  • starting from the 2000/01 school year, set aside an annual provision of $500 million as Capacity Enhancement Grant to provide each primary school with $450,000 to $550,000 and each secondary school with $250,000 to $300,000 to help reduce the workload of teachers, enable schools to enhance the standard of language teaching, and take care of students' diversity.

2Excluding additional teachers recruited under Capacity Enhancement Grant and Quality Education Fund.

To strengthen school-based professional leadership

Principal-ship and leadership hold the key to the success of schools. School sponsoring bodies and managers are entrusted with the responsibilities for overseeing the schools. They are also accountable to the public for the effective operation of their schools. To promote professional leadership of schools, we have:-

  • introduced a diversified and multi-layered principal-ship training course in order to cater for the individual needs. The training course includes elements such as school administration, curriculum reform, community support and teachers' professional development;
  • organised regular seminars for school managers on the concepts, principles and procedures of school-based management with a view to strengthening the leadership and monitoring of schools;
  • increased the transparency of schools so that parents and the public are better informed about schools' operation. Examples of enhanced transparency measures include requiring schools to make public their annual school plans and annual reports, conducting quality assurance inspections as well as publishing a register of school managers and school profiles.

Improving teaching facilities and promoting all-round development

To provide more quality school premises

Increasing learning time and providing a more spacious environment are conducive to promoting students' all-round development and realisng students' full potential.

  • We shall continue to expedite the implementation of whole-day primary schooling. The percentage of students in whole-day primary schools has increased from 21% to 48%. We envisage that virtually all primary school students will be studying in whole-day schools by the 2007/08 school year.
  • We shall speed up the School Improvement Programme. Improvement works in 360 primary and secondary schools have been completed. Another 151 schools are undergoing improvement works. Feasibility studies for another 328 schools are in progress. We expect all feasible projects to be completed by the 2004/05 school year.
  • We shall continue to adopt the Year 2000 design for schools so as to provide more space and improved facilities.

To improve school facilities

Improving school facilities can help enhance students' interest in learning and increase the effectiveness of teaching and learning.

  • The Quality Education Fund has provided grants for the installation of air-conditioning to schools in need of such facilities. So far, 250 schools have benefited from the grants.
  • We have launched the Five-Year Strategy on IT in Education in the 1998/99 school year. All schools have computers installed and internet access. Over 90% of schools can access the internet either through broadband or leased line. We have also provided schools with technical support services, IT co-ordinators and teacher training at various levels.
  • Multi-media learning centres have been set up in more than 560 schools. Besides, funds were provided to purchase notebook computers for loan to needy secondary school students.

Creating a new teaching culture and promoting lifelong learning

Community support for education

Nurturing the next generation is not the sole responsibility of schools. Family and society also play an important part. Education improvements require the coordinated efforts of the whole community.

  • The Quality Education Fund was set up in 1998 with a grant of $5 billion. So far, it has provided over $2.7 billion for more than 4 300 projects to encourage innovative initiatives and to promote all-round education and education research.
  • The "Hong Kong Education City" website was launched in November 2000 to provide education-related information and resources for teachers, students, parents and the general public. It has more than 300 000 registered members and an average hit rate of over 400 000 every day. The average hit rate of the Small Campus - which is for primary school students - is over 200 000 every day.
  • We have set aside $50 million in 2001/02 to strengthen parent education and promote home-school co-operation. More than 1 000 schools have already set up parent-teacher associations.
  • We have strengthened the support for students. In 2000/01 school year, we provided every secondary school with one social worker. We have also allocated funding to enhance the development of school-based uniform groups.

To reform curriculum and pedagogy and to enhance language standard

Enhancing students' learning effectiveness is the ultimate goal of improving the quality of education. The key to learning effectiveness is curriculum and pedagogy.

  • We have completed in 2001 a holistic curriculum review and proposed a 10-year plan for curriculum development which focuses on "learning to learn". We have started providing school-based support and teacher training to enable schools to pursue curriculum and pedagogical improvements having regard to their own needs.
  • We have implemented the medium of instruction policy to enable students with lower English proficiency to benefit from mother-tongue teaching. Experience over the past three years has indicated that mother-tongue teaching has enhanced students' effective understanding of subject knowledge and interest in learning.
  • We have launched the Native-speaking English Teachers (NETs) scheme in secondary schools in the 1998/99 school year. We have introduced in the 2000/01 school year a Primary School English Development Pilot Project in selected primary schools which aims to study the effectiveness of collaborative teaching between the native-speaking and local English teachers.
  • We have promoted systematically the teaching of Putonghua. Putonghua became a core subject from the 1998/99 school year and a subject of the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examinations from 2000.

Providing greater choice through encouraging diverse modes of school operation

To increase diversity and choice

As part of our strategy to improve education in Hong Kong, we promote diversity in the education system. Greater diversity will also provide more choices to parents and students.

  • We have, since 1999, allocated a number of school sites/school premises for private independent schools (PISs) and Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS) schools, each having its own characteristics. We envisage that by the 2005/06 school year, there will be some 60 PISs and DSS schools in operation.
  • In 2001, we have consulted the public on the proposed detailed arrangements for implementing the "Through-train" mode for primary and secondary education. The advantage of "Through-train" is to enhance the quality and coherence of students' development through encouraging greater synergy as well as continuity in curricula and teaching between primary and secondary schools.

For details of various aspects of education, please visit the following web sites -

Education and Manpower Bureau

  • Full-time Accredited Self-financing Post-secondary Programmes
  • Homepage on Continuing Education
  • Project Springboard  Chinese Version Only

Education Department

Education Commission

Quality Education Fund


Education and Manpower Bureau
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
October 2001