It has all along been the Government’s target to achieve the all-graduate teaching force. To attract talents to serve in the primary education sector and for schools concerned to recruit a pool of professionals with good leadership skills, the Government accepted the Education Commission’s recommendation in its Report No.5 in 1993 to turn 35% of its primary school teaching posts into graduate teacher posts and it was achieved in the 2001/02 school year. In the 2008/09 and 2009/10 school years, the Education Bureau (EDB) increased the ratio of graduate teacher posts in public sector primary schools to 45% and 50% respectively. Subsequently, starting from the 2015/16 school year, the ratio of graduate teacher posts in public sector primary schools was further increased by phases in three years, i.e. increasing from 50% to 55%, 60% and 65% in the 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 school years respectively. Besides, starting from the 2008/09 school year, the rank of Senior Primary School Master/Mistress (SPSM) was created by the EDB as the deputy head or the head of a primary school of smaller scale.
The Government announced in the Chief Executive’s 2017 Policy Address that an in-depth review would be carried out on the professional development of teachers. The EDB set up the Task Force on Professional Development of Teachers (the Task Force) in November 2017 to review and further promote teachers’ professional development, which includes the drawing up of a timetable for an all-graduate teaching force and proposing directional recommendations. Based on the results of the extensive consultation, the Task Force has comprehended the views and rationale in the sector for the full implementation of the all-graduate teaching force policy as soon as possible, and considered carefully whether the pace of implementation could match the professional development of teachers and readiness of schools. After in-depth discussions, the Task Force recommended that the policy on an all-graduate teaching force should be implemented as soon as practicable so as to raise the professional status of teachers, retain and attract talents into the teaching profession, and enhance the quality of education. The Government accepted the recommendation of the Task Force and the Chief Executive announced in the 2018 Policy Address that the all-graduate teaching force policy would be implemented in public sector primary and secondary schools in one go in the 2019/20 school year. Schools may, taking into account their school-based circumstances, achieve full implementation in two years by the 2020/21 school year.
Roles and functions of different ranks in the graduate grade
(a) Sections 60-61 on "Promotion and Regrading"
(b) Appendix 2A on “Teaching Staff Establishment, Educational Psychologist, School-based Speech Therapist, Primary School Assistant Social Work Officer and School Executive Officer of Aided Primary Schools”
(c) Appendix 4/Attachment D1, D2-E on "Guides to Appointment"
(a) Sections 65-66 on "Promotion and Regrading"
(b) Appendix 2 on "Staff Establishment"
(c) Appendix 4/Attachment H(ii), H(iii) & I(ii) on "Guides to Appointment"