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Teaching posts in government and aided primary schools


Date of Meeting: 9 May 2001

Asked by : The Hon. Emily LAU

Replied by : SEM

Question :

Regarding teaching posts in government and aided primary schools, will the Administration inform this Council:

  1. of the total number of graduate teacher ("GT") posts and its percentage in the overall teaching staff establishment of all government and aided primary schools in the school year 2000-01; and the number and percentage of such posts now substantively filled;

  2. of the current number of schools with GT posts not filled or not substantively filled; the reasons for these posts not being filled; as well as the plans to fill all vacant GT posts expeditiously;

  3. of the number of serving certificated master/mistress ("CM") who possess a recognized first degree or equivalent qualifications; and

  4. whether there are plans to convert all CM posts to GT posts?


Madam President,

a. Since the 1994/95 school year, the Government has provided graduate teacher posts in primary schools. The original target was to upgrade 35% of all primary teacher posts from non-graduate to graduate posts by the 2007/08 school year. In 1997, this target was advanced to the 2001/02 school year.

The distribution of graduate teacher posts, as agreed with teacher unions and associations, school councils and sponsors, following extensive consultations, is as follows:
  • all headship and deputy headship posts would be regraded to graduate teacher posts in the 1999/2000 school year;
  • 35% of the senior teacher posts would be regraded to graduate teacher posts by the 2001/02 school year; and
  • the remaining graduate teacher posts would be allocated to the basic rank teacher level.
The purpose is to first upgrade all headship and deputy headship posts which carry instructional and managerial leadership responsibilities, followed by a fair share of the graduate posts between senior teachers and teachers at the basic rank. Aided schools are allowed the flexibility to adjust the percentage of graduate teacher posts to be upgraded in the senior teacher rank and the basic rank, as long as the overall entitlement of graduate teacher posts is not exceeded, and the distribution is agreed with the teaching staff following consultation.

Up to the 2000/2001 school year, resources have been provided for creating 5 675 graduate teacher posts, amounting to 26.7% of the total teaching staff establishment in government and aided primary schools. The Administration will provide another 1 640 primary graduate teacher posts in the 2001/02 school year, bringing the total number of such posts to 7 315, thus meeting the 35% target.
b. As at February 2001, 3 947 graduate teacher posts were filled, amounting to about 70% of the total graduate teacher posts available.

Altogether 1 728 graduate teacher posts in 671 government and aided primary schools remained unfilled. The major reasons are:-
  • at the headship and deputy headship levels, not all incumbents in government and aided schools presently have a degree to fill the graduate teacher posts; and
  • some aided schools have decided not to fill some of the graduate teacher posts because some teachers with a degree are not considered suitable for regrading due to other factors such as aptitude, character, potentials and experience. In other cases, teachers identified as suitable for upgrading are presently pursuing a degree course. The School Management Committee has the discretion to decide, having regard to the overall interest of the school, whether to withhold filling a graduate teacher post pending the completion of a degree course by an identified teacher, or to directly appoint degree holders with teacher training in primary education to fill the post.
Starting from the 2000/01 school year, if aided schools directly appoint school heads and deputy heads from new recruits, the appointees are required to possess a recognised degree and relevant teacher training qualifications. The Education Department regularly encourages non-graduate heads, deputy heads, and teachers to pursue degree courses. In addition, aided schools are encouraged to fill their graduate posts as quickly as possible, through regrading of suitable degree holders who are occupying non-graduate teacher posts or through employing new teachers with a recognised degree and teacher training in primary education.
c. According to the Teacher Survey 2000, as at October 2000, 5 356 teachers holding degrees were employed as non-graduate teachers in government and aided primary schools, of whom 4 593 were occupying Certificated Master/ Mistress posts, and 763 were occupying Assistant Master/ Mistress posts. Since then, some of these teachers have moved on to fill graduate teacher posts. However, as the Teacher Survey is conducted annually, we do not have the exact figures at this point in time.
d. We shall evaluate the impact of the policy on the quality of primary education and then decide whether to increase the proportion of graduate teacher posts further.
Last revision date: 09 May 2001
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