Development of village schools
Date of Meeting: 7 March 2001
Asked by : Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Replied by : Secretary for Education and Manpower
Will the Government inform this Council:
- of the number of students admitted to village schools in each of the past five years;
- how the facilities and resources of village schools compare to those of schools in the new towns; and
- whether it will allocate resources to improve the facilities of village schools so that the students there are provided with the same quality of education as that offered by schools in the new towns; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
|a.|| Government has not set any strict definition for rural schools. Generally speaking, rural schools refer to schools located in remote suburban areas and providing education to children living in neighbouring villages. In the past five years, the number of rural schools and their total enrolment are as follows:
|b.|| Rural schools were mostly built before the development of nearby new towns. They normally have only the basic facilities required for teaching and learning, including three to six classrooms, one to two special rooms, a staff room and a playground. All aided schools, including rural schools, receive government subsidies in accordance with the provisions set out in the Code of Aid. Generally speaking, the amount of subsidy received by a school largely depends on the number of classes it operates.
Besides, Government has over the years been putting in resources to enhance and improve the facilities of aided schools, including rural schools. These include providing computers to meet new teaching and learning requirements, and providing through the School Improvement Programme (SIP), basic facilities like standard classrooms and special rooms to schools in need.
|c.|| On the recommendation of the Education Commission Report No. 5, Government launched the SIP in 1994 to upgrade the facilities of all public sector schools, including rural schools, to provide additional and improved facilities to meet the needs of teaching and learning.
Since the commencement of the programme, four rural schools have had their improvement works completed and one school is undergoing improvement works. Construction works for seven rural schools under phase 4 will soon commence. We are also exploring options for a rural school where improvement works are technically non-feasible. Besides, a rural school has been redeveloped in situ, and another is scheduled for closure. The remaining 71 rural schools will be included in the final phase of the SIP.
The Education Department obtained funding approval from the Finance Committee in February this year for the appointment of consultants to carry out feasibility studies for 342 aided schools (including the 71 rural schools mentioned above) in the final phase of the SIP. The studies will be completed in stages by end 2002. It is anticipated that actual construction works, which will also be staggered, will be completed by the 2004/05 school year.