Session 21 EDB - page 8 to provide quality HD services according to the standards prescribed by the Government. Notwithstanding that, to unleash the potential of the local labour force under the population policy, under the free quality KG education policy to be implemented starting from the 2017/18 school year, we will provide, on a co-payment basis with parents, an additional provision of 30% and 60% for eligible KGs offering WD and long WD services respectively. As the Government has provided additional subsidy, school fees will be at a low level. Needy families may be granted fee remission (at three subsidy levels of 100%, 75% or 50%). In view of the foregoing, we do not have plans to further increase government subsidy for WD and long WD KG places at this stage.
Starting from the 2017/18 school year, the Education Bureau (EDB) will provide direct subsidy for KGs joining the Free Quality KG Education Scheme (Scheme). Funding will be provided basically on a per student basis in the form of a basic unit subsidy. In addition, school-specific grants including, among others, rental subsidy and tide-over grant, etc. will be provided to cater for the special circumstances of individual KGs or students. In principle, government subsidy would be sufficient for KGs to provide quality HD services. Notwithstanding this, individual KGs may have to charge schools fees, which are estimated to be at low level, for their HD programmes, to defray expenses on rent that are not fully covered by rental subsidy. To increase the number of KGs that will not have to charge school fees to defray rental expenses, EDB will explore feasible measures to provide more Government-owned quality KG premises.
As a long-term strategy, adequate space would be earmarked for KG use in new public housing estates with new demand, and we will explore the feasibility of increasing Government-owned KG premises in accordance with the established mechanisms for site search and/or premises allocation as appropriate. We will also explore the feasibility of co-location of KGs and primary schools.
As regards teachers’ salaries, the basic HD unit subsidy covers expenses on salaries for teaching and supporting staff (calculated at the maximum point of the salary ranges for principals and clerks, and mid-point of the recommended salary ranges for other teaching and supporting staff) and other operating costs. Hence, in principle, it would be sufficient for KGs to defray expenditure on teachers’ salary. For KGs which have a large number of long-serving teachers who are receiving higher salaries, they may apply for a one-off time-limited tide-over grant for two years starting from the 2017/18 school year. EDB will review the utilisation of funding in the 2018/19 school year and take follow-up actions as appropriate to ensure smooth migration of KGs to the new policy as well as achievement of the objectives of free quality KG education policy.
The wastage rates (Note 1) of teachers in local non-profit-making KGs in each of the past three school years (i.e. 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 (Note 2)) were generally steady at 8.5%, 7.7% and 9.8% respectively.
According to the information provided by KGs, common reasons for the KG teachers leaving the sector include marriage, child caring, taking up employment outside the profession, retirement, further studies, illness and migration, etc.
For retaining and attracting quality teachers and maintaining a stable teaching force for providing quality KG education, a career ladder and competitive remuneration for teachers are conducive factors. Under the Scheme, a three-level teaching staff structure with principal, senior teachers and class teachers is considered appropriate for a KG. For some KGs, a vice-principal may be needed to assist the principal in overseeing the school administration, curriculum development and operation matters. On teachers’ salary, EDB provides a salary range for each teaching position for KGs to remunerate their teachers within the range.
Taking the salary of basic rank teachers as an example, in the 2017/18 school year, the salary will range between $20,770 and $36,930, which is a significant increase over the median salary (about $20,000) of teachers under the Pre-primary Education Voucher Scheme in the 2015/16 school year. We expect that KG teachers’ salary will be further raised under the Scheme.
As regards a mandatory salary scale for KG teachers, salary-related practices under the funding mode of aided schools could not be applied to KGs in isolation. In the aided sector, the funding mode is tied with several inter-connected components, such as EDB’s annual approval for the number of operating classes which in turn determines the staff establishment, and is subject to a basket of control measures under the
Session 21 EDB - page 9 Government’s prudent and balanced planning of school places operated through school place allocation systems. If the aided school funding mode is adopted in the KG sector, it may result in packing of classes and teacher redundancy in KGs in times of enrolment drop. Besides, KGs would become less flexible in operating HD and WD classes to meet the needs of parents.
As compared to a mandatory salary scale in which teacher salary is determined solely in accordance with seniority, it is appropriate and fit to provide KGs with salary ranges which could ensure competitiveness while at the same time allow flexibility for the KG management to decide on their staff remuneration, taking into account their qualifications, teaching experience, performance, additional duties, training received and special skills possessed, etc. In light of the above, we have no plans to provide a mandatory salary scale for KG teachers at this stage. We will continue to listen to views of various stakeholders.
Note 1: “Wastage rate” refers to the number of drop-out teachers as a percentage of the total number of teachers in local KGs as at mid-September of the preceding school year. “Drop-out teacher” refers to the teachers who had served in a local KG as at mid-September of the preceding school year but no longer served in any KG as at mid-September of the school year concerned.
Note 2: The figures of the 2016/17 school year are provisional.
- End -
Session 21 EDB - page 10 Examination of Estimates of Expenditure 2017-18
CONTROLLING OFFICER’S REPLY
(Question Serial No. 0494)
Head: (156) Government Secretariat: Education Bureau Subhead (No. & title): (-) Not specified
Programme: (7) Post-secondary, Vocational and Professional Education Controlling Officer: Permanent Secretary for Education (Mrs Marion LAI) Director of Bureau: Secretary for Education
Regarding vocational and professional education under Programme (7), there has been a downward trend in the number of full-time vocational and professional education student places offered by the Vocational Training Council (VTC). In this connection, please inform this Committee of the following:
(a) The reasons for the decline in the number of places offered by the VTC.
(b) The top ten most popular VTC courses in the past year.
(c) The employment rate among full-time graduates who are economically active generally reaches 80%.
What are the three sectors with the highest employment rates and their respective percentages? What are the three sectors with the lowest employment rates and their respective percentages?
(d) Will the VTC further extend the Pilot Training and Support Scheme to attract young people to join different sectors?
Asked by: Hon CHAN Kin-por (Member Question No. 3) Reply:
(a) The Vocational Training Council (VTC) has adjusted downward the number of full-time vocational and professional education student places in light of the decline of the senior secondary student population.
(b) The 10 most popular full-time subvented programmes, being listed as the first choice of applicants, offered by VTC in the 2016/17 academic year are as follows (in alphabetical order):
- Higher Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering - Higher Diploma in Building Services Engineering - Higher Diploma in Child Care and Education - Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering
- Higher Diploma in Culinary Arts
- Higher Diploma in Electrical Engineering
- Higher Diploma in Hotel and Catering Management
- Higher Diploma in Product, Interior and Exhibition Design (Subject Group) - Higher Diploma in Sports Coaching
- Higher Diploma in Tourism and MICE
(c) The disciplines with the highest and the lowest employment rate of economically active full-time 2015 graduates of VTC are as follows –