Following is a question by the Hon Yeung Yiu-chung and a reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (June 18):
Regarding reduction of classes in primary and secondary schools, which leads to an over-supply of teachers, will the Government inform this Council of:
(a) the details of reduction of classes in primary and secondary schools, broken down by districts, in each of the two coming school years, including the numbers of redundant teachers resulting from the reduction, vacant teaching posts, and redundant teachers who are not employed by schools with vacant teaching posts; and the number of graduates from the Hong Kong Institute of Education ("HKIEd") during the same period; and
(b) the measures to resolve the employment problems of redundant teachers and the HKIEd graduates?
(a) For the school years of 2003/04 and 2004/05, the respective numbers of classes in aided secondary schools in Hong Kong will increase by 154 and 105, and the overall demand for teachers in such schools will increase by about 200 and 137. For the same periods, the total number of classes in aided primary schools in Hong Kong will decrease by 391 and 410, and the overall demand for teachers in such schools will subsequently fall by about 530 and 550.
Vacant teaching posts in aided secondary and primary schools (not including special schools, skills opportunity schools, practical schools and ESF schools) are estimated at 910 and 430 respectively for the 2003/04 school year. These cover teaching posts lasting for one year or more as a result of natural wastage, increase of classes, new initiatives (e.g. the new post of Curriculum Development Leader) after taking into account the decrease/increase of teaching posts due to a change in the number of classes. There are now less than 400 primary school teachers and 20 secondary school teachers in surplus who have not yet secured a teaching post. Owing to insufficient information at the moment, we are not in a position to make an accurate projection of the number of vacant teaching posts in aided primary and secondary schools for the 2004/05 school year.
We do not have district-based figures for the above.
The number of graduates from the Hong Kong Institute of Education in 2003 and 2004 is 1 041 and 1 156 respectively.
(b) The Education and Manpower Bureau issued a notice to all aided secondary schools on April 29 this year, informing them of matters related to class organisation and teaching staff establishment for the 2003/04 school year. It is stated that in the event of having surplus teachers, the aided secondary school concerned should try its best to absorb the surplus by means of internal arrangements including job-sharing. A school sponsoring body operating more than one school should arrange to re-deploy all of its surplus teachers to fill available vacancies in other schools under its sponsorship as far as possible.
To further alleviate the problem of surplus teachers, we have decided, in consultation with the Hong Kong Subsidized Secondary Schools Council as well as the sponsoring bodies and schools concerned, to adopt the following one-off temporary measures in those aided schools expected to have surplus teachers in the 2003/04 school year -
* the number of Secondary 2 and 3 classes to be calculated using 35 as the basis (eg. 4 classes for 106-140 students; 5 classes for 141-175 students), ie. 26 to 35 students for each class, but additional teachers over the existing establishment will not be allowed;
* to reinstate the previous flexible arrangement in gauging the manpower needs for split-class teaching;
* based on the number of senior secondary classes planned for the 2003/04 school year, to invite suitable schools to run additional Secondary 4 classes or Secondary 5 repeaters' classes;
* to allow individual schools to operate self-financed Secondary 5 repeaters' classes or other charged classes at marginal cost; and
* to allow schools with capacity and experience to operate special programmes on basic knowledge (e.g. languages, computer, personal development) and career-oriented courses which are suitable for non-engaged youths and new arrivals to Hong Kong.
To help surplus teachers in primary schools look for another teaching post, the Bureau has requested sponsoring bodies operating more than one school to re-deploy surplus teachers to fill available vacancies in other schools under them. The Bureau has also implemented various other measures, such as disseminating information of teaching vacancies through its homepage, offering a preferential treatment period during which surplus teachers are given the priority to apply directly to schools, arranging group recruitment interviews and encouraging job sharing among teachers, to help those surplus teachers who are really in need of assistance to secure a teaching post as soon as possible. We hope that, with the concerted efforts and full support of all schools, the problem of surplus teachers this year will be solved by early July so that schools can finalise their planning for the upcoming school year and make more room for the prospective teachers.
According to the estimate, there should be a sufficient number of teaching vacancies in the new school year for graduates from the Hong Kong Institute of Education.
End/Wednesday, June 18, 2003