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Refresher courses for serving teachers


Date of Meeting: 21 February 2001

Asked by : Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong

Replied by : SEM

Question :

With regard to refresher courses provided by the Education Department to serving teachers, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the number of places provided for serving teachers in the respective refresher courses on English Language, Chinese Language, Putonghua and Information Technology Education in each of the past five years and the respective public expenditure involved;

  2. whether schools may apply to the authorities for funding to engage substitute teachers so that serving teachers can attend refresher courses; if so, of the refresher courses meeting the relevant application criteria, and the relevant funding allocated in each of the past five years; if not, the reasons for that; and

  3. of the refresher courses terminated in the past five years and will soon be terminated by the authorities, the reasons for their termination and the replacement courses provided?


Madam President,

  1. Each year, the Administration offers a wide range of training courses for serving teachers. Some courses are organised by the Education Department direct, whilst others are commissioned by the Department and organised by various training institutes. These courses cover different aspects of teaching skills, subject knowledge, and other professional issues. Depending on the complexity of the subject, the duration of each course differs, and could range from half a day to a few months. Courses which have a long term demand are run year after year, whilst courses designed to meet ad hoc training needs or to address topical issues are run as and when demand arises. Thus, the number of training courses, as well as the number of training places, could vary quite considerably from year to year.

    The expenditure incurred each year is mainly a function of the number of courses, their duration, and whether they are organised by the Department direct or commissioned out. For courses run by the Department direct, the costs (in particular staff costs) are usually absorbed by the Department's resources and hence not separately identifiable.

    In the past five years, the Government has provided various in-service training courses on English, Chinese, Putunghua and information technology (IT). Details are set out in the table below. The figures should be interpreted in the context of the background set out in the above two paragraphs.

    School year Subject (Note 1) No. of places Expenditure (in $M)(Note 1)
    1996/97 English Language 6 498 29.78
    Chinese Language 1 755 29.93
    Putonghua 750 17.48
    IT 2 164 0 (Note2)
    1997/98 English Language 6 526 29.28
    Chinese Language 2 561 28.83
    Putonghua 1 343 25.10
    IT 1 656 0.22
    1998/99 English Language 3 890 29.14
    Chinese Language 1 688 30.35
    Putonghua 1 810 22.05
    IT (Note 3) 74 123 17. 46
    1999/2000 English Language 8 343 37.28
    Chinese Language 1 693 32.83
    Putonghua 1 814 20.20
    IT (Note 3) 46 146 26.98
    2000/01 (projected total) English Language 2 777 35.46
    Chinese Language 1 194 32.13
    Putonghua 561 17.53
    IT (Note 3) 63 318 70.02

    Note 1 : some courses are run by the Education Department with its own resources. The expenditure for such courses are not separately identifiable.
    Note 2 : run by Education Department through deployment of its resources.
    Note 3 : In 1998/99, the Education Department implemented a "Provision of Multimedia Computers for Primary Schools" project, which includes the training of all primary school teachers. The Administration issued a five-year Strategy on Information Technology in Education in November 1998. One of the initiatives is to provide training places at four different IT competency levels for teachers so that they could use IT more effectively to support teaching in the school curriculum. Figures on training places and expenditure have already been included in the relevant statistics for the 1998/99, 1999/2000 and 2000/01 school years.

  2. Government and aided schools may make use of resources provided to employ substitute teachers when serving teachers are granted sick leave, maternity leave or study leave. As the Education Department's accounts in respect of substitute teachers do not include a breakdown by reason for employing substitute teachers, the expenditure figures for employing substitute teachers due to serving teachers taking study leave are not available.

  3. The Administration regularly reviews and updates the content of the training courses, and provides new courses to replace outdated ones. As this is an ongoing task and there are a large number of training courses involved, no specific statistics are kept.

Last revision date: 21 February 2001
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