Following is a question by the Hon Sin Chung-kai and a reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (May 14):
It has been reported that the Government plans to launch a scheme under which one teaching post will be shared by two teachers or two teaching posts by three teachers. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the details and target participants of the scheme, and the present number of teachers who have volunteered to join the scheme;
(b) whether it will implement similar schemes for civil servants (including civil servants on agreement terms and Government employees on short-term agreement, etc) and staff of Government-funded public bodies; if it will, of the justifications for the implementation of such schemes; and
(c) of the estimated number of persons who will be affected by the schemes mentioned in (a) and (b) and the savings on public funds to be achieved through the implementation of such schemes?
(a) Under the arrangement of "Appointment of Teachers on a Job Sharing Basis", aided schools may recruit more than one teacher to fill a teaching post within the approved staff establishment, subject to the needs of the schools and the wish of teachers concerned. Appointment of these part-time teachers to fill teaching posts at various ranks should be in accordance with the Code of Aid and the Guides to Appointment for the respective ranks currently in force. Regular part-time teachers, within the approved teaching establishment, like their regular full-time counterparts, are subject to the provisions of the Code of Aid, including eligibility for joining provident funds, entitlement to various types of leave such as paid sick leave, and their part-time teaching experience being recognised on a pro-rata basis for salary incremental and promotion purposes. In the 2002/03 school year, there are 77 teachers employed on part-time basis in aided schools.
(b) Individual government departments create and retain posts according to their operational needs. The Government has no intention to introduce the "job sharing" arrangement in the civil service so as to avoid creating pressure on the operation and staff deployment of individual departments, and possibly the quality of service delivered. In fact, flexibility is already allowed under the current system for government departments to employ non-civil service contract staff for service needs which are short-term or ad hoc in nature.
Regarding other government-funded public bodies, staff employment is generally a matter between the organisation as employer and the subvented staff as employees. Under the current subvention policy, Government will not intervene in the employment of full-time or part-time staff by individual organisations. Nevertheless, individual Directors of Bureau have the discretion to handle matters relating to the flexible deployment of staff for subvented organisations under their purview.
(c) The "job-sharing" arrangement is to provide aided schools with greater flexibility to recruit teachers according to their needs, and to allow teachers more space for career and self development. In addition, as the number of teaching posts will not be reduced under the "job-sharing" arrangement, there will not be savings on public funds as a result. The arrangement can nevertheless increase employment opportunities in the teaching profession.
End/Wednesday, May 14, 2003