through different measures and strategies.

(c) On promoting teachers’ professional development, most teachers participating in the consultancy study considered the professional development activities appropriate to their needs and useful in curriculum formulation, activity design, classroom decoration, etc.

As observed from QR, as KGs are generally aware of the importance of school settings to children’s learning, teachers are able to take into account children’s interests, abilities and learning needs, when planning and creating a real-life setting environment for students’ learning. They provide sufficient opportunities and diversified materials for children to manipulate and explore through various activities and interactive games, thus enhancing learning effectiveness and unleashing children’s creativity and potential.

(d) On supporting children’s learning and development, KGs engaged in the consultancy study indicate that with the use of different strategies to support NCS children, they are more able to help NCS children learn the Chinese language. For supporting children with special needs or at risk of developmental delay, KGs maintain close communication with parents and encourage teachers to attend training to better equip them to cater for children’s diverse needs. KGs participating in the consultancy study are generally able to establish a good partnership with parents. Besides, there are more KGs setting up PTAs or parents’ groups to facilitate home-school communication. With schools’ active engagement of parents in voluntary services, parents hold a positive view towards various parent-child activities organised by schools, considering them as useful in enhancing their skills of forging parent-child relationship and parenting. Schools and parents maintain close communication and various channels are in place for parents to learn about their children’s performance.

Moreover, schools make good use of different resources and arrange teachers to receive training, encouraging them to take care of NCS children and other children with diverse needs through different strategies, so as to cater for learner diversity.


(e) Regarding teacher training, most KGs proactively encourage teachers to receive training, and some of them make administrative arrangements, such as flexible manpower deployment and hire of supply teachers, to enable teachers to participate in professional development activities. There is a wide array of professional development activities that cover different topics, such as learning through play, catering for learner diversity, and SSE. On support to students with special needs, KGs have indicated that they would, through strengthening teacher training, enhance teachers’ capacity in catering for the diverse needs of children. A number of KGs provide novice teachers with various means of support, e.g.

induction activities, mentoring by experienced teachers, class observation and after-class discussion.

7.3 The sector indicated that since the implementation of the Scheme, KGs are, by and large, operating in a smooth manner. Though schools have to take on extra administrative work and the EDB’s financial monitoring on schools has become more rigorous, schools have gathered certain experience over the past few years. They will be able to gradually enhance the effectiveness in administration and financial management.

In tandem, with reference to the past experience, the EDB will streamline procedures and provide templates for schools’ use to ease KGs’

administrative workload, and to strike a balance between effective monitoring and streamlining administrative work.

7.4 It is the shared goal of the Government, the KG sector and parents to provide children with quality KG education. Beyond doubt, the Government attaches great importance to KG education. Findings from our review that commenced in mid-2019 show that the Scheme is implemented in the right direction. It has received support from the sector and parents. There is room for enhancement in operational details.

As a matter of fact, in the process of implementing the Scheme, whenever needs arise and resources are available, support measures are rolled out.

During the review, we gathered views from the stakeholders and introduced new support measures, in light of the circumstances, for early and pilot implementation even before the completion of the review. The Pilot Schemes on Relocation Grant and Renovation Grant are examples.

Following this approach, we will keep in view the development of KG


education and stakeholders’ concerns and needs through on-going communication, so as to continuously enhance KG education in Hong Kong with concerted efforts.

7.5 As regard to the feasibility of introducing a KG teacher salary scale, upon in-depth studies of the different options and their respective merits and drawbacks, as well as the implications on the development of KGs, we consider that the provision of a mandatory teacher salary scale similar to that of aided primary and secondary schools is not feasible under the premise of maintaining KGs’ flexibility, diversity, and prompt response to social changes. The existing arrangement of providing salary ranges can maintain KGs’ specific features of diversity and flexibility, as well as prompt response to social changes and parents’ needs, and be conducive to the sustainable development of the KG sector. As such, we will maintain the existing arrangement of providing salary ranges.

7.6 Under the premise of maintaining KGs’ diversity and flexibility, as well as promptly responding to social changes and parents’ needs, the EDB will support the sustainable development of KGs and the major new measures are as follows:

(a) Enhancing teachers’ professional development, which includes:

(i) providing structured learning programmes of a longer duration (e.g.

lasting for several weeks) for experienced teachers, senior teachers or teachers aspiring for senior posts from the 2021/22 school year onwards, for in-depth study on various education issues; and providing subsidies for supply teachers in this regard;

(ii) providing a one-off grant for Scheme-KGs in the 2021/22 school year to implement school-based projects to facilitate professional development of teachers or sustainable development of the school.

Depending on the school size, successful applicants will receive a subsidy from $100,000 to $200,000;

(b) Streamlining administrative work, which includes:

(i) exploring the feasibility of expanding the coverage of the simplified procedures under fee revision to KGs proposing fee increase not exceeding a specified percentage;


(ii) streamlining the procedures in school allocation exercises, with KGs’ overall operating standard and needs of KGs as the key considerations so as to encourage more KGs to apply for relocation;

(c) Assisting KGs in improving the school environment, which includes:

(i) extending the Relocation Grant ($1.5M for each KG) to the 2022/23 school year, encouraging KGs in districts with aging population, with old school premises or in premises at high rental cost to relocate;

(ii) providing 200 additional quotas under the Renovation Grant ($0.5 million for each KG) in the 2021/22 school year;

(iii) extending the grace period for transition from rent reimbursement scheme to “dual” caps under the new Scheme for two years, i.e.

2021/22 and 2022/23 school years. During these two years, the amount of subsidy will be decreased by 15% each year to facilitate schools’ gradual transition;

(d) An additional one-off subsidy of $50,000 to $60,000 will be provided to KGs in the 2021/22 school year to kick start structured parent education programmes; and

(e) The Government is planning to uplift the fee remission ceiling under the KCFRS from the 75th percentile to the 100th percentile of the school fees charged by existing Scheme-KGs, so that parents receiving full fee remission do not need to pay any difference.

7.7 The EDB would like to once again extend our heartfelt gratitude to stakeholders for frankly expressing their views and concerns and providing valuable inputs during the review.


Annex 1

Kindergarten Education Scheme Major measures

[Extracted from paragraph 3 of Legislative Council Paper dated 1 February 2016.]

The Government has implemented the new kindergarten (KG) education scheme (Scheme) with effect from the 2017/18 school year. The policy objectives are to provide good quality and highly affordable KG education, and enhance the accessibility of students to different modes of services that suit their specific needs. It is estimated that about 70% to 80% of half-day (HD) KG places will be free. The key features of the new policy and funding arrangements are as follows –

(a) Scope of free quality KG education

The Government subsidy would cover HD service in local non-profit-making (NPM) KGs as the basic provision for all eligible KG students. To unleash the potential of the local labour force under the population policy, additional resources will be provided for eligible KGs offering whole-day (WD) and long WD (LWD) services to encourage them to offer more such services at a more affordable rate.

(b) Enhancement to the quality of KG education (i) Staffing, remuneration and career ladder

The overall teacher to pupil (TP) ratio for eligible KGs would be substantially enhanced from 1:15 to 1:11 (principal not included). A salary range for each position would be provided for KGs, which would continue to have the discretion to determine the remuneration of their staff within the range.

(ii) Quality assurance and curriculum review

The Guide to the Pre-primary Curriculum will be reviewed and the existing quality assurance framework be enhanced.

(iii) Teacher professionalism

The enhancement of the qualification requirement of KG teachers to degree level would be a long-term goal.

Meanwhile, more support would be provided for KG teachers to upgrade their professional capacity.


(iv) Accommodation and facilities

The Operation Manual for Pre-primary Institutions would be reviewed with a view to enhancing the physical accommodation and facilities of new Government-owned KG premises. As an additional medium-/long-term measure, we will explore the feasibility of setting up resource centres to provide a variety of experiential learning activities for KG students, teacher training as well as parent education activities.

(v) Governance and monitoring

KGs will be required to enhance their administration, management and accountability under an effective governance framework with transparency. The Government will step up monitoring.

(c) Funding arrangement (i) Mode of funding

We will provide direct subsidy for eligible KGs under the new policy. Funding would be provided basically on a per student basis for supporting students’ HD schooling in the form of a basic unit subsidy (basic HD unit subsidy). Some grants on a school-specific basis will also be provided to cater for the special circumstances of the KGs or the students.

(ii) “Basic HD unit subsidy”

The “Basic HD unit subsidy”, which is calculated on a per student unit cost basis, will cover teaching staff salary, supporting staff salary and other operating expenses.

(iii) School-specific grants 23 (on top of the “basic HD unit subsidy”)

I. Additional resources for WD and LWD services

An additional grant will be provided for eligible KGs offering WD and LWD places.

II. Premises-related support for KGs

Rental subsidy will be provided for KGs joining the new subsidy scheme. For eligible KGs operating in self-owned school premises or premises self-owned by their school

23 The subsidy currently available to the child care centre portion of the KG-cum-CCCs under the Child Care Centre Subsidy Scheme will be maintained.


sponsoring bodies with zero/nominal rent, a premises maintenance grant will be provided to alleviate the financial burden arising from major repairs. The existing arrangements for claiming refund of rates and Government rent by NPM KGs will continue.

III. Cook for KGs with a kitchen

A grant comparable to the recommended salary of one cook will be provided for LWD and WD KGs with a kitchen that complies with all the Government requirements.

IV. Non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students24 in KGs

A grant comparable to the recommended salary of one teacher will be provided for KGs admitting eight or more NCS students.

(d) Catering for student diversity

(i) KG students from needy families

Fee remission will continue to be provided under the existing Kindergarten and Child Care Centre Fee Remission Scheme (KCFRS). In addition, a grant will be provided for KG students from needy families to help the parents pay for the expenditure incurred from KG education for their children.

(ii) NCS students in KGs

Apart from providing a grant for KGs admitting eight or more NCS students to strengthen the support for their NCS students, school-based professional support will continue to be provided and further enhanced. Teacher training programmes on the teaching and learning of the Chinese language for NCS students in KGs will also be enhanced.

(iii) KG students with special needs or at risk of developmental delay

Labour and Welfare Bureau (LWB) has launched a pilot scheme under which on-site rehabilitation service is provided to benefit over 2 900 children with special needs who are studying in KGs or kindergarten-cum-child care centres (KG-cum-CCCs) as early as possible. The services also cover

24 For the planning of educational support measures, students whose spoken language at home is not Chinese are broadly categorized as NCS students.


parents of those children and the teaching staff in the KGs and KG-cum-CCCs. The enhancement of the TP ratio to 1:11 will create more space for KG teachers to collaborate among themselves to take care of the diverse needs of students (including those at risk of developmental delay), and to enable better professional collaboration with the inter-disciplinary teams in the above pilot project to support the students with special needs.

EDB will offer more structured in-service training programmes for KG teachers to enhance their capacity to cater for students’

diverse learning needs and to facilitate early identification of children with special needs. The Government will also set up a cross-Bureau/Department platform to give advice on the development of initiatives to cater for KG children with special needs.

(e) Provision of more KG places and KG premises

The planning standards for provision of KG places will be reviewed and revised as necessary as a long-term goal from the present 250 WD and 730 HD to 500 WD and 500 HD places respectively for every 1 000 children aged between three and six. We will also devise feasible policy measures with a view to increasing the supply of Government-owned KG premises which are up to the standard as stipulated by the Government in the long run.

(f) Parents’ involvement and parent education

Parent education will be promoted to help parents understand the development needs of their children. EDB will also encourage KGs to set up Parent-Teacher Associations, and promote parents’

involvement in the learning of their children.

(g) Local research on KG education

More researches on the latest trends in child development and to examine the impact of the new policy on the quality of KG education will be encouraged.


(h) Other implementation issues

To maintain the flexibility and diversity of the KG sector and free choice for parents, KG students admission will remain a school-based matter. We will issue guidelines to KGs to ensure a proper and transparent student admission mechanism is in place.


Annex 2

Progress on the implementation of the kindergarten education scheme

(2017/18 to 2020/21 school year)

The new kindergarten (KG) education scheme has been implemented smoothly in general over the past four years. While maintaining KGs’

flexibility and diversity as well as promptly responding to parents’ and social needs, the quality of KG education has been enhanced. Initiatives undertaken under the new policy have been rolled out progressively. Some enhancements have also been put in place as necessary. A gist of progress is given below.

Overall implementation

1. When the policy was rolled out in the 2017/18 school year, it is estimated that about 70% to 80% of half-day (HD) KG places will be free. Over the past four school years (from the 2017/18 to 2020/21 school years), about 90% of the HD KGs are free. The fees of whole-day (WD) classes have been maintained at a low level, the median being around $730, $790,

$820 and $860 per instalment respectively in these four years.

2. Subsidies relating to teachers’ salaries have been enhanced in the following ways:

(a) Starting from the 2018/19 school year, subsidies on teacher salary portion and the teacher salary ranges are adjusted based on the annual civil service pay adjustment on a school year basis, instead of the Composite Consumer Price Index.

(b) The Tide-over Grant is extended for 3 years (i.e. 5 years up to the end of the 2021/22 school year).

3. Teachers are remunerated reasonably within the salary ranges. The Education Bureau (EDB) conducts annual survey to track the situation.

Suspected irregular cases are followed up individually and KGs are requested to rectify as necessary.

4. While the minimum requirement in teacher-pupil ratio is 1:11, most KGs have deployed their resources to employ additional teachers. Overall


speaking, among some 750 Scheme-KGs, there are a total of about 1 000 additional teachers.


5. The KG Education Curriculum Guide was reviewed and the revised Guide was released in February 2017. Children’s balanced development, learning through play and the element of free exploration in play are highlighted. It is also explicitly spelt out that KGs should not require children in nursery class (K1) to hold a pencil and write, and not to require children in lower and upper KG classes to do mechanical copying and calculation.

Teacher training

6. On pre-service training, the programme frameworks of the teacher education programmes in early childhood education (ECE), including certificate in ECE, Bachelor in Education (ECE), and Postgraduate Diploma in Education (ECE), have been refined.

7. The framework for the KG principal certification course has also been refined.

8. Enhancements in in-service training have been put in place by:

(a) setting a soft training target of each KG teacher to attend at least 60 hours’ continuous professional development in a 3-year cycle;

(b) including KG teachers in the initiative of “sabbatical leave” under which KG teachers may apply for the aforesaid leave lasting for one to five months; and

(c) organising more study trips to the Mainland and other districts/countries (such as Japan and Korea).

Catering for students’ diverse needs

9. On the subsidy for supporting non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students, it was enhanced in the 2019/20 school year by replacing the flat-rate subsidy with tiered subsidy. School plans and reports are collected and school visits are conducted for monitoring and support purposes.


10. Set up specific targets for training on catering for students’ diverse needs:

(a) Each Scheme-KG admitting 8 or more NCS students should have at least one teacher completed the Basic Course as recognised by the EDB by the 2018/19 school year. The requirement has been extended to all Scheme-KGs having admitted NCS students (regardless of the number) by the 2020/21 school year.

(b) For students with developmental needs, each Scheme-KG should have at least one teacher completed the Basic Course as recognised by the EDB by the 2020/21 school year.

These training targets are broadly met.

11. A project “3Es: Early prevention, Early identification and Early Intervention” has been launched from the 2015/16 to 2020/21 school years to provide school-based support to KGs to cater for students’ development in social skills and emotion.

Premises-related measures

12. The planning standards for provision of KG places has been reviewed and revised from 250 WD and 730 HD places to 500 WD and 500 HD places for every 1 000 children aged between three and six.

13. To increase government-owned KG premises so that these KGs will not have to charge any school fees to defray rental expenses, 11 KG premises in public housing estates have been allocated from 2018 to 2020. To explore the feasibility of co-location of KGs and primary schools, a pilot project is in the pipeline.

14. The Schedule of Accommodation for a “standard” KG has been revised with an increase of indoor floor area by 20% for each student.

15. In collaboration with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, and by capitalising on the existing resources in two of their visitors’ centres in Tsiu Hang and Wetland Park, two resource centres for KGs have been set up. A purpose-built resource centre is being planned.

In document Report on the Review of the Kindergarten Education Scheme (Page 59-72)

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