Skip to main content Skip to search
Print this page

Student-to-teachers ratios

LEGCO QUESTION No. 13 (WRITTEN REPLY)

Date of Meeting: 19 December 2001



Asked by : Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung

Replied by : SEM

Question :

Will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the respective average teacher-student ratios, the number of students per class and the number of teaching periods per teacher per week in aided secondary and primary schools at present;

  2. how these figures compare with those five years ago and the corresponding figures in advanced countries in Europe and America as well as those in the neighbouring countries or regions; and

  3. whether it will consider reducing the number of teaching periods per teacher per week by a quarter; if it will, of the additional resources required per year; if it will not, the reasons for that?

Reply:

Madam President,

  1. The Education Department (ED) conducts annual surveys to gather statistics on the number of students, teachers and teaching periods per teacher. Since the data processed for the 2001/02 school year is still being processed, the latest information ED has is statistics for the 2000/01 school year.

    According to the survey results for the 2000/01 school year, the average teacher-student ratio, class size and the number of teaching periods per teacher for aided secondary and primary schools are as follows-

Primary School

Secondary School

Average teacher-student ratio

1:22.0

1:18.5

Average class size

33.6

37.3

Average number of teaching periods per teacher

29 per week

28 per week/cycle(Note 1)

  1. The average teacher-student ratio, class size and the number of teaching periods per teacher for aided secondary and primary schools in Hong Kong in the 2000/01 school year as compared with the corresponding figures five years ago are as follows-

1995/96

school year

2000/01

school year

Teacher –student ratio

Primary school

1:23.8

1:22.0

Secondary school

1:20.5

1:18.5

Average class size

Primary school

33.7

33.6

Secondary school

38.1

37.3

Average number of teaching periods per teacher

Primary school

29 per week

29 per week

Secondary school

29 per week/cycle

29 per week/cycle(Note 2)

Since different countries have different interpretations of teacher-student ratio and class size, and adopt different calculation basis, it is difficult to make an objective and holistic comparison. According to the latest figures provided by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the average teacher-student ratio and class size of primary and secondary schools in Europe, America and neighbouring countries are as follows-

Country

Average teacher-student ratio

(1999 data)

Primary School

Secondary School

China

1:23

1:17

Japan

1:29

1:16

Korea

1:29

1:21

Singapore

1:25

1:19

United Kingdom

1:23

1:17

United States

1:17

1:14

Country

Average class size 

(1999 data unless otherwise specified)

Primary School

Secondary School

China (Note 3)

---

---

Japan

27.3

32.7 (Note 4)

Korea

35.4

42.6

Singapore

37.2

34.7

United Kingdom

26.8

22.1

United States (Note 5)

24.1

23.6

The UNESCO has not collected data on the number of teaching periods per teacher per week.

  1. Government understands that teachers have heavy workload and has therefore invested considerable amount of resources in recent years to enhance the support for schools and increase the number of teaching staff. Measures to reduce teachers' workload and enhance teachers' capacity include-

  • Providing schools, starting from the 2000/01 school year, with a Capacity Enhancement Grant (up to $300,000 per secondary school and $550,000 per primary school) to hire outside services and/or staff outside the permanent staff establishment. The recurrent expenditure of this initiative is about $510 million. The grant for secondary schools will be increased by 50% starting from the 2002/03 school year. The maximum amount of grant will increase from $300,000 to $450,000. Additional annual expenditure will be over $70 million.

  • Creating an additional graduate teacher post for each primary school starting from the 2002/03 school year to provide leadership in curriculum development. The total annual expenditure will be $400 million.

  • Providing a grant for enhancing student guidance and counselling services in primary schools starting from the 2002/03 school year. Schools may procure student guidance services, educational psychology services or social work services, in accordance with their individual needs. The annual expenditure is $120 million.

  • Introducing progressively the Native English-speaking Teachers (NET) and the English Language Teaching Assistants (ELTA) schemes to primary schools. Our ultimate objective is that each primary school will have one NET or ELTA. In the 2002/03 school year, we have set aside $200 million for recruiting over 400 NETs or ELTAs.

If the number of teaching periods per teacher per week/cycle is to be further reduced by a quarter, we estimate that about 6 300 and 5 600 additional teachers will be required for secondary and primary schools respectively. Based on the average salaries of a certificated master/mistress and graduate master/mistress, the additional recurrent expenditure required will be nearly $4 billion. This has not yet taken into account resources required for teacher training. Also, we have to bear in mind the limited capacity of teacher training places. Hence, a more pragmatic approach is to first implement measures to reduce teachers' workload mentioned in the above paragraph.

(Note 1)  The timetable of some secondary schools is on a weekly (i.e. five days) basis while others are on a cycle (ranging from six to ten days) basis. Data provided by secondary schools may refer to the number of teaching periods per week or per cycle. ED does not have a breakdown on the number of schools adopting a weekly or a cycle basis. Since a cycle has more days and thus teaching periods, this will inflate the average number of teaching periods.
(Note 2)  As mentioned in Note 1 above, since some secondary schools adopt the cycle basis and that ED did not compile statistics on the number of secondary schools switching to the cycle basis in the past five years, there will be limitations of comparing the figures of the 1995/96 and 2000/01 school years direct.
(Note 3)  Data is not available.
(Note 4)  Only data on junior secondary classes is available.
(Note 5)  Only 1993/94 data is available.
Last revision date: 19 December 2001
This website is IPv6 Enabled We are committed to ensuring that our webpage conforms to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA requirements to the maximum extent possible. However,as our webpage contains considerable multi-media contents, it is not possible to incorporate all Level AA accessibility requirements in all of them. Nonetheless, the multi-media contents are so located as not to affect the accessibility of significant contents in our webpage. Valid HTML 4.01 Strict