Having noted the following observations and upon consultation with sector representatives, the Working Party recommened the implementation of harmonisation measures to take effect from the 2005/06 school year (EDB Circular Memorandum No. 314/2003 (40 KB)) to enable the sectors to be better prepared:
- The pre-primary services sector had faced difficulties in operation due to the continued decrease in child population. The SARS incident gave a further hard blow to the sector. In the light of the then prevailing economic situation, a longer period of transition could help the sector to recuperate from the adverse operation conditions; and
- Since announcement of the harmonisation measures, both the KG and the child care sectors had expressed the need for a relatively longer period to get familiarized with the operation of one another to achieve harmonisation. Besides, there were other practical issues of concern such as the arrangements of in-service and pre-service training for child care workers and KG teachers, formation of school management committees, etc. which required a longer preparation period before the new measures were introduced.
Except for the implementation plan, the Working Party’s recommendations on harmonisation detailed in EDBC No.20/2003 (71 KB) remained unchanged. Nevertheless, some administrative measures such as provision of training to harmonise the pre-primary services were introduced prior to full implementation of harmonisation of pre-primary services.
The Harmonisation of Pre-primary Services Section of the Quality Assurance Division, EDB continued to serve as a contact point to provide the necessary information and assistance on harmonisation of pre-primary services, including provision of advice to those ready and interested operators to apply for operation of CCCs under the existing regulatory framework and requirements.
The Legislative Council had passed the Child Care Services (Amendment) Bill 2005 on 29 June 2005. Harmonisation of Pre-primary Services had taken effect from the 2005/06 school year as scheduled.
The Harmonisation of Pre-primary Services Section had worked on the preparation for harmonising KGs and CCCs, e.g. making legislative amendments, arranging funding transfer/financial assistance schemes, setting up a Joint Office, registering CCCs as KG-cum-CCCs, mutually recognizing the qualifications of child care workers/kindergarten teachers, compiling operation manual for pre-primary institutions, setting quality assurance mechanism, etc.
The work plan :
- To brief CCCs to be converted to KGs the details of applying for Kindergarten Subsidy Scheme and fee revision
- To issue circulars on Kindergarten Subsidy Scheme and application for fee revision(EDB Circular No. 6/2002, EDB Circular Memorandum No. 19/2005)
- To brief CCCs (which also operated as KGs) on the procedures of KG registration
- To issue invitation letter on application for approval of monthly fee to CCCs (which also operated as KGs in September 2005)
- To receive applications from CCCs for registration as KGs
- To brief CCCs (which also operated as KGs) on:
- Kindergarten Fee Remission Scheme
- The grandfathering arrangement of the Child Care Centre Fee Assistance Scheme
- To set up the Joint Office by phases
- To set up the Steering Group on Harmonisation of Pre-primary Services
- To brief English speaking CCCs on the procedures of KG registration
- To brief KGs on the progress of harmonisation of pre-primary services
- To brief CCCs which also sperated KGs on arrangement of disbursing subsidy.
- To brief CCCs on the arrangement of mutual recognition of serving Child Care Workers (CCWs) and Qualified Kindergarten Teachers (QKTs)
- To brief KGs on the arrangement of mutual recognition of serving CCWs and QKTs
- To announce the fee level approved for CCCs that also operated KGs in September 2005
- To start issuing registration certificate to CCCs that also operated KGs in September 2005
- To receive applications for release of first instalment of subsidy from Kindergarten Subsidy Scheme
- To set up the Joint Office
- To complete the final draft of the Operation Manual for Pre-primary Institutions