Report on the Review of the Kindergarten Education Scheme

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Report on the Review of the Kindergarten

Education Scheme

August 2021

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Report on the Review of

the Kindergarten Education Scheme Content

Chapter 1: Introduction 1

Background Consultation

Chapter 2: Overview of the implementation of the kindergarten education scheme

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Chapter 3: Teacher professionalism 14

Teacher manpower Teachers’ salary

Teachers’ continuous professional development

Chapter 4: Monitoring and quality assurance 31

Monitoring

Quality assurance

Chapter 5: School premises and facilities 41

Chapter 6: Curriculum, students’ learning and parent education 47 Curriculum and students’ learning

Support to students with diverse needs Parent education

Chapter 7: Conclusion 57

Annex 1 Major measures under the kindergarten education scheme

62

Annex 2 Progress on the implementation of the kindergarten education scheme

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Chapter 1 Introduction

Background

1.1 The Government has implemented the kindergarten education scheme (Scheme) starting from the 2017/18 school year to replace the Pre- primary Voucher Scheme (PEVS)1 which was implemented from the 2007/08 to 2016/17 school years. The policy objectives of implementing the Scheme are to provide good quality and highly affordable kindergarten (KG) education, and enhance the accessibility of students to different modes of services that suit their specific needs.

1.2 The measures under the Scheme were fully considered through in- depth studies, consultation, discussion 2 from 2013 to 2015. The recommendations are based on the following principles:

(a) While KG education should not be compulsory, children aged between 3 to 6 should not be deprived of KG education due to the lack of financial means;

(b) Quality of KG education is the prime concern;

(c) The uniqueness, vibrancy and diversity of KG education in Hong Kong must be respected;

(d) Government funding should be accompanied by good governance on the part of KGs leading to consistent improvement in the quality of education; and

(e) The policy must be practicable and sustainable.

1.3 The Government announced in the 2016 Policy Address the launch of the Scheme and announced the details of the Scheme3 in July 2016. The major initiatives are summarised below:

1 Under the Pre-primary Voucher Scheme, the Government provided direct subsidy to parents in form of vouchers to ease their financial burdens.

2 The Committee on Free Kindergarten Education, which was set up in April 2013, submitted a report to the Education Bureau (EDB) in May 2015. Details of the report are at https://www.edb.gov.hk/attachment/en/edu-system/preprimary-kindergarten/kg-report/Free-kg- report-201505-Eng.pdf

3 For details of the Scheme, please refer to the EDB Circular No. 7/2016, the guidelines issued by the EDB and the Kindergarten Administration Guide.

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(a) Basic subsidy: Providing eligible local non-profit making KGs4 with a basic subsidy to offer three-year quality half-day (HD) service to all eligible children, and additional subsidies to eligible KGs offering whole-day (WD) and long WD (LWD) services;

(b) Teacher professionalism (including manpower, salary and professional development): Enhancing the overall teacher-pupil (TP) ratio for eligible KGs substantially from 1:15 (including principal) to 1:11 (not including the principal); providing a salary range for each position for KGs, which would determine the remuneration of their staff within the range; encouraging KGs to establish a career ladder and provide competitive remuneration to attract and retain quality teachers;

(c) Curriculum and quality assurance: Reviewing the Guide to the Pre-primary Curriculum with regard to the learning and teaching experience of KGs and the needs of the community; enhancing the quality assurance framework to strengthen the governance and transparency of KGs; and stepping up the Government’s monitoring;

(d) Catering for diverse learning needs: Strengthening the support to students from needy families, non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students and students with diverse learning needs;

(e) School premises and facilities: Improving school premises and facilities, and exploring to increase the provision of KG premises;

(f) Parents’ involvement and parent education: Promoting parent education to help parents understand the development needs of their children; encouraging KGs to set up Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) to promote parents’ involvement in the learning of their children.

The major measures under the Scheme are detailed at Annex 1.

4 To join the Scheme, KGs should meet the following eligibility criteria:

(a) being a non-profit making KG exempted from tax under Section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance (Cap. 112);

(b) offering a full local curriculum in accordance with the latest curriculum guide for KGs issued by the Curriculum Development Council; and

(c) with track records on meeting the quality requirement (i.e. passing the Quality Review).

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Consultation

1.4 Since the 2017/18 school year, the EDB has progressively rolled out the initiatives under the Scheme, and put in place some enhancements as necessary. The Scheme signifies an important milestone in the development of KG education. In view that the Government has put in substantial resources and implemented various measures covering different aspects, we considered it necessary to have a timely review to understand the implementation in KGs to ensure that the measures are implemented according to the policy objectives and intended purposes. Meanwhile, we understand that the KG sector (especially teachers) has expressed demand for the establishment of a salary scale for KG teachers. In this connection, the Chief Executive announced in the 2017 and 2018 Policy Address that the data of the three school years from 2017/18 to 2019/20 would be used as the basis to explore the feasibility of introducing a salary scale for KG teachers. The EDB commenced a comprehensive review on the implementation of the Scheme in mid-2019, including the salary arrangements for KG teachers. The review does not aim at making fundamental changes or changes in principle. The objective of the review is to understand the implementation of the Scheme so as to explore refinements on the implementation details as necessary.

1.5 The scope of the review included the funding modes under the Scheme, teacher professionalism (including manpower, salary and professional development), monitoring and quality assurance, school premises and facilities, curriculum and students’ learning, parent education, etc. in the three years from the implementation of the Scheme in the 2017/18 school year up to 2019/20 school year. Should relevant information in the 2020/21 school year be available, we also took into consideration to ensure that the findings from the review are still applicable under the latest circumstances.

1.6 The review was conducted mainly through gauging views from different stakeholders and analysing existing data. The EDB conducted more than 60 consultation sessions in total from mid-2019 to mid-2021 with representatives of different stakeholders, including school sponsoring bodies (SSBs), KG principals, KG associations, teacher organisations, relevant non-governmental organisations, as well as parents and KG

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teachers. Besides, the EDB commissioned the Faculty of Education of the University of Hong Kong in 2017 to conduct a three-year consultancy study to evaluatethe effectiveness of the provision of quality KG education in Hong Kong under the KG education policy. The research team collected information from classroom observation, questionnaire surveys and interviews and the research targets covered KG principals, teachers, parents and children. The preliminary findings of the consultancy study, which is expected to be completed in late 2021, also serve as reference for the review.

1.7 This report provides an overview of the implementation of the Scheme from the 2017/18 to 2019/20 school years, the latest development in the 2020/21 school year, the data the EDB made reference to, opinions of various stakeholders, way forward of the policy and details of the enhancement measures gradually put in place by the EDB taking into consideration the review findings and KGs’ developmental needs. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all stakeholders for their support and assistance.

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Chapter 2 Overview of the implementation of the kindergarten education scheme

Overall situation

2.1 The EDB has progressively rolled out the initiatives under the kindergarten education scheme, and put in place enhancements as necessary. Under the Scheme, the Government has substantially increased subsidies to KGs. The Government’s commitment in KG education has been substantially increased from about $4 billion before the implementation of the Scheme to about $6.7 billion every year. The annual subsidy, irrespective of HD or WD, for each eligible student under the PEVS is $23,230. In the 2020/21 school year, the HD, WD and LWD unit subsidy for each eligible student is $36,080, $46,900 and $57,730 respectively. Also, we provide school-specific grants to KGs to cater for their special circumstances, including rental subsidy, premises maintenance grant, grant for a cook, as well as grant for supporting NCS students, etc.

2.2 The number of KGs joining the Scheme (Scheme-KGs) has slightly increased as compared to that of joining the previous PEVS with details tabulated below:

Joining

PEVS Joining KG education scheme

School year 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21

Number of KGs 745 748 753 761 763

% among

eligible KGs5 96.6% 96.8% 96.7% 96.8% 97%

2.3 On the whole, the Scheme has been implemented smoothly and is widely supported by the sector. Measures implemented are in line with the policy objectives and intended purposes. The policy objectives of providing highly affordable KG education, and enhancing the accessibility

5 A non-profit making KG is exempted from tax under Section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance (Cap. 112) and offers a full local KG curriculum.

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of students to different modes of services that suit their specific needs have been achieved. The Scheme has maintained the KGs’ features of flexibility and diversity, as well as prompt response to social changes and parents’ needs. The progress on the implementation of the Scheme is set out at Annex 2.

Flexibility and diversity, responsive to needs

2.4 The KG sector is characterised by flexibility and diversity, flexible operation, as well as prompt response to social changes and parents’ needs.

The Scheme can effectively cater for school-based circumstances of different KGs. Specifically, the basic HD unit subsidy covers the general needs of all KGs, including the salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff, and related expenses (such as provident fund contributions) and daily operating costs. Additional subsidies are provided to cater for other diverse needs, including additional subsidies to KGs operating WD and LWD programmes6, and grant for a cook for WD KGs with a kitchen which complies with the Government’s requirements. This not only suits school-based needs, but also upholds the key principle of co-payment between the Government and parents for the additional costs for WD operation. Premises maintenance grant and rental subsidy are provided to cater for the respective needs of KGs operating in self-owned school premises and rented premises. Additional subsidy is provided to KGs to support NCS students, and fee remission and grant for school-related expenses are provided for students with financial needs so as to cater for the needs of students with diverse backgrounds, etc.

2.5 In fact, given the diversity of the KG sector, KGs must be allowed to make flexible arrangements to support the sustainable development of KGs with diverse backgrounds. Taking the operation scale of KGs as an example, the number of students ranges from dozens of students to over one thousand students. In the 2020/21 school year, there were about 100 Scheme-KGs (about 13%) with an enrolment of more than 300 students while around 60 Scheme-KGs (8%) had enrolled fewer than 60 students.

No Scheme-KGs ceased operation from the 2017/18 to 2019/20 school

6 WD and LWD programmes need more staff and higher operating costs due to the longer service hours. The additional subsidy we provide for WD and LWD programmes are 30% and 60% of the basic HD unit subsidy respectively.

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years. This shows that even “small-scale’ KGs (such as those having only dozens of students) can still sustain their development through flexible deployment of resources. In the 2020/21 school year, only two Scheme- KGs ceased operation. One of them was due to the redevelopment of the estate.

2.6 As for operation mode, KGs flexibly deploy their rooms to operate HD programmes, WD programmes or both HD and WD programmes in response to parents’ needs. In the 2020/21 school year, the number of Scheme-KGs operating HD, WD and both HD and WD programmes is tabulated below:

Programmes Number of Schools

Operate HD programmes only 142

Operate WD programmes only 245

Operate both HD and WD programmes 376

2.7 Besides, most KGs also operate child care centres to cater for children aged under 3. Under the principle of no cross-subsidisation between child care centre and KG portions, KGs can flexibly deploy their manpower and put in place school-based measures.

2.8 In light of KGs’ specific features of flexibility and diversity in operation, should Scheme-KGs be able to provide free HD services and maintain fees for WD services at a low level, they may flexibly employ additional teachers, teaching assistants and other supporting staff. KGs may also draw up school-based policy on remuneration within the prescribed salary range provided by the EDB and remunerate teachers with regard to their qualifications, teaching experience, duties, performance and expertise. While the required TP ratio of 1:11 is used to determine KGs’

overall teaching manpower, KGs have the flexibility to adopt previous practices7 in their actual arrangement of learning and teaching activities to

7 The minimum number of teachers required to be present and on duty in a KG shall, in relation to the number of pupils present at any time in the KG, be one teacher for every 15 pupils or part thereof.

The principal of the KG can be counted as one of the teaching staff and at least one teacher has to be present in a class.

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make rooms for teachers to have more capacity for various professional activities, such as participating in professional development activities and catering for the diverse needs of students (including those at risk of developmental delay).

School fee at an affordable and low level

2.9 When rolling out the Scheme in the 2017/18 school year, it was estimated that around 70% to 80% of KGs offering HD programmes are free of charge. In practice, in the past four years (from the 2017/18 to 2020/21 school years), around 90% of the Scheme-KGs offering HD programmes are free of charge. For WD programmes, premised on the principle of co-payment between the Government and parents, parents need to pay school fees. With additional subsidy from the Government, the school fees for WD programmes are maintained at a low level (the median school fees per instalment for the 2017/18 to 2020/21 school years were around $730, $790, $820 and $860 respectively). Families with financial needs may apply for fee remission and the Grant for School- related Expenses for Kindergarten Students8. As seen from the above, the Scheme has achieved the objective of providing good quality and highly affordable KG education.

Good governance and quality assurance

2.10 Under the Scheme, the Government has the responsibility to strengthen the quality assurance framework. All Scheme-KGs are required to apply to stay in the Scheme every year and sign an undertaking to comply with the terms and conditions set out by the EDB. When vetting schools’ application every year, the EDB would conduct an overall review on the operation of individual KGs, such as the results of Quality Review, any malpractices and non-compliance on financial management, admission arrangement, and whether the irregularities, if any, have been rectified as requested. Besides, KGs are required to submit annual audited accounts for the EDB’s review. The EDB would also visit Scheme-KGs in a timely manner to conduct financial audit and review their

8 The grant rate approximates to the grant for selected items of school related expenses (i.e. books, stationery, school uniforms, miscellaneous and minor one-off expenses) under Comprehensive Social Security Assistance. In the 2020/21 school year, the full flat-rate grant per KG student is

$4,175.

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accounts / systems and internal control. If irregularities are found, the KGs concerned would be required to rectify. Repeated failure to rectify the irregularities notwithstanding prior notice and reasonable time allowed for remedial action, the EDB will take actions, including issue of warning letters and consideration of revocation of its eligibility under the Scheme.

Timely enhancement of grants

2.11 After the implementation of the Scheme, we have kept in view KGs’ needs, and enhanced existing grants or provided additional grants.

For example:

(a) Start-up grant: Considering that KGs needed to prepare for the implementation of the Scheme, such as improving the quality of service, strengthening administration, management and accountability, and putting in place a proper internal control and reporting mechanism with rigorous checks and balances for the Scheme, the EDB disbursed in February 2017 a one-off start-up grant ranging from $200,000 to $300,000 to KGs joining the Scheme in the 2017/18 school year (i.e. the first year of implementation of the Scheme).

(b) Tide-over grant: Under the Scheme, Scheme-KGs with a large number of long-serving teachers receiving relatively high salaries were provided with a time-limited tide-over grant for two years (i.e. the 2017/18 and 2018/19 school years) as additional financial support to defray KGs’ expenses on teachers’ salaries in the early period of implementation of the Scheme. The Government announced in July 2017 that the two-year tide-over grant would be extended for three years (i.e. a total of five school years up to the 2021/22 school year).

(c) Adjustment of salary-related subsidies: The Government also announced in July 2017 that, starting from the 2018/19 school year, the subsidies related to teachers’ salaries9 (and the salary ranges for teachers) would be adjusted according to the annual civil service pay adjustment on a school year basis.

9 These subsidies include the teaching staff salary portion of the unit subsidy (HD, WD and LWD services), the grant for support to NCS students and the tide-over grant.

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(d) Grant for support to NCS students: Starting from the 2017/18 school year, Scheme-KGs admitting eight or more NCS students are provided with a grant comparable to mid-point salary of the recommended salary range for one KG teacher. With effect from the 2019/20 school year, the EDB has enhanced the original one- tiered grant to five-tiered grant10 based on the number of NCS students admitted. A KG admitting only one NCS student also receives the grant, and the grant rate for the highest tier is a double of the previous level.

(e) Staff Relief Grant for staff taking paid maternity leave (ML): The Government proposed in the 2018 Policy Address to extend the statutory ML from 10 weeks to 14 weeks. Notwithstanding that the Government needs time to amend the relevant law, the EDB provides a relief grant from 1 January 2019 onwards for staff taking 14-week paid ML to encourage Scheme-KGs to be good employers. KGs may apply to the EDB for reimbursement of the expenses for employing substitute staff on an accountable basis.

(f) Supply Teacher Grant: Starting from the 2018/19 school year, the EDB provides a supply teacher grant to facilitate Scheme-KGs to arrange their teachers to attend the specified recognised training courses on supporting students with special needs and NCS students.

(g) Promotion of Reading Grant for Kindergartens: With effect from the 2019/20 school year, the EDB provides Scheme-KGs with the Promotion of Reading Grant for Kindergartens to step up the promotion of reading and further nurture children’s interest in reading.

10 Details and the grant rate of the five-tiered grant in the 2020/21 school year are as below:

Tier Number of NCS students Grant Amount

1 1 to 4 students $51,400

2 5 to 7 students $198,960

(comparable to the rate of 0.5 KG teacher)

3 8 to 15 students $397,920

(comparable to the rate of 1 KG teacher)

4 16 to 30 students $596,880

(comparable to the rate of 1.5 KG teachers)

5 31 students or above $795,840

(comparable to the rate of 2 KG teachers)

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(h) As announced in August 2021, an additional subsidy is provided for Scheme-KGs to purchase national flags and movable flagpoles so as to facilitate KGs to help students understand the national flag and the etiquette of the flag raising ceremony.

(i) In tandem with the review, we promptly provided enhanced measures when immediate improvement were found necessary, including providing the Relocation Grant, Renovation Grant, Website Enhancement Grant, etc. in the 2020/21 and 2021/22 school years.

2.12 Besides, the Government provided KGs with additional one-off subsidies when needs arose. Examples include the Special Grant on Typhoon Disturbance11 provided in 2018 because of the damages caused by Typhoon Mangkhut; the Special Anti-epidemic Grant, the Support Grant and the One-off Grants12 under two rounds of the Anti-epidemic Fund in consideration of the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic; the Gift Book Scheme and Do It Yourself Handicraft and Learning Package Scheme to facilitate children’s learning at home, etc.

Views and discussions

2.13 With regards to the current funding modes for Scheme-KGs, stakeholders had the following views:

(a) There was a unanimous view in the sector that the mode of providing a unit subsidy was conducive to maintaining the specific features of diversity, flexibility and vibrancy of the KG sector, and this mode should be maintained.

(b) The sector generally agreed that, under the Scheme, the Government had substantially increased subsidies to KGs, and the coverage of the subsidies met the actual needs of KGs.

11 The Special Grant on Typhoon Disturbance was disbursed according to the actual expenses of KGs, basically with a ceiling of $50,000 per KG.

12 To support KGs, the EDB has disbursed subsidies to the KG sector three times, including (a) providing each KG with a grant at the rate of $10,000 to $15,000 in March and April 2020 for replenishing epidemic prevention equipment, cleaning the school premises and paying for other expenses related to epidemic prevention; as well as the Support Grant ranging from $60,000 to

$160,000 per school; (b) providing all KGs with a One-off Grant in November 2020 ranging from

$30,000 to $80,000 per school; and (c) another One-off Grant provided to all KGs in February 2021 ranging from $60,000 to $160,000 per school.

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(c) At present, fee-charging KGs collect school fees in 10 to 12 instalments, and the EDB disburses the basic unit subsidy according to the number of school fee instalments. Majority of stakeholders considered the existing arrangement effective, which actually formed the basis for KGs in preparing their annual budget and deployment of resources. Regarding the EDB’s proposal of standardising the number of instalments for disbursement of the unit subsidy among KGs, KGs were of the view that it would lead to confusion and KGs would have to start over their planning of financial arrangements or even need to modify the systems concerned. As such, KGs strongly requested to maintain the existing arrangement.

(d) At present, 60% of the basic unit subsidy is prescribed as teachers’

salary portion13 which must be used on teachers’ salaries and related expenses. KGs may deploy any of the remaining 40% for teachers’ salaries and related expenses, but not vice versa. While there were views that the EDB should remove such a restriction to allow schools greater flexibility in deploying resources, some considered that the restriction should be maintained as a means to ensure that teachers were reasonably remunerated.

(e) With respect to the Special Grant on Typhoon Disturbance provided for Scheme-KGs in 2018, and the various one-off grants disbursed to KGs in light of the COVID-19 epidemic, the KG sector commended the EDB for taking prompt actions to address schools’ pressing needs. The sector expected that the EDB would, as before, render timely support to KGs when urgent needs arose.

Way forward

2.14 In sum, measures implemented under the Scheme are in line with the policy objectives and intended purposes. They have helped maintain flexibility and stable development of KGs, provide highly affordable KG education, strengthen the quality assurance and cater for the diverse needs

13 KGs are required to demarcate 60% of the basic unit subsidy (including basic HD unit subsidy, additional subsidy for WD and LWD services) as teachers’ salary portion and must be used on teaching staff salaries and related expenses (such as mandatory provident fund, long service payment, etc.). The remaining 40% is for other operating costs. KGs may deploy any portion of the remaining 40% for teaching staff salaries and related expenses, but not vice versa.

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of students. The process of implementing the measures is smooth and the policy is feasible and practicable. In view of this, the EDB will maintain the current arrangements of subsidy disbursement, i.e. (i) providing unit subsidy based on the number of eligible students while offering additional grants in light of KGs’ specific circumstances; (ii) disbursing unit subsidy according to the number of school fee instalments; and (iii) rendering additional support to KGs in light of the circumstances as necessary.

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Chapter 3 Teacher professionalism

3.1 One of the major objectives of the KG education scheme is to enhance the quality of KG education and, among others, professional competency of KG teachers (including principals) is most crucial. In this connection, the EDB has put in place a series of enhancement measures in teacher manpower, salary and professional development when implementing the Scheme.

Teacher manpower

Background and current situation

3.2 The overall TP ratio for Scheme-KGs has been enhanced from 1:15 (including principal) to 1:11 (not including the principal). As the TP ratio is calculated based on the overall number of teachers in school, KG may arrange learning and teaching activities flexibly according to school- based needs, including catering for students with diverse needs. KGs may further enhance their TP ratio by flexibly deploying resources to employ additional teachers provided that their HD programmes are free of charge and fees for WD programmes are maintained at a low level. In actual operation, many KGs are maintaining a more favourable TP ratio than 1:11. According to the Survey on Kindergarten Teachers and Child Care Staff, the average TP ratio of AM and PM sessions of Scheme-KGs in the 2019/20 school year was around 1:10 and 1:9 respectively.

3.3 Before implementation of the Scheme, KGs were required to employ sufficient teachers possessing Certificate in Early Childhood Education (C(ECE)) or above qualifications based on the TP ratio of 1:15.

With the overall requirement in TP ratio raising to 1:11 under the Scheme, in principle, all teachers employed in a KG based on the TP ratio of 1:11 should be holders of C(ECE) or above qualifications. In the early stage of the implementation of the new policy, as a transitional arrangement, on top of ratio of 1:15 and within the ratio of 1:11, flexibility was allowed for KGs to employ teachers not possessing C(ECE), such as experienced Qualified Kindergarten Teachers already serving in the sector and non- ECE degree-holders. Meanwhile, these teachers should be encouraged to enroll in the recognised ECE courses. The EDB undertook to review the

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flexibility in the 2019/20 school year. The results of the study showed that almost all Scheme-KGs (i.e. 99.87%) in the 2019/20 school year employed sufficient teachers possessing the required qualifications based on the TP ratio of 1:11. In other words, there is no need to keep this flexibility.

3.4 On the career ladder for teachers, all along, KGs may determine the rank of teachers by taking into account their school-based needs.

Under the Scheme, it is suggested that out of five class teachers, one of them may be upgraded to a senior teacher, and for KGs having three or more senior teachers, one of them may be upgraded to vice-principal. As for the rank of principals, KGs with a vice-principal may set the rank of their principal at Principal I; for KGs with not more than three teachers, the salary range of their principals will be comparable to vice-principal; for the remaining KGs, the rank of their principals may be set at Principal II.

According to the annual Survey on Kindergarten Teachers and Child Care Staff in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 school years, about 60% of Scheme-KGs have filled up all of their promotion posts and around 30% had one vacant promotion post.

Views and discussions

3.5 The KG sector agreed that the current TP ratio of 1:11 is an improvement over the past. There were views that the TP ratio should be further enhanced, such as excluding the vice-principal(s) and/or senior teacher(s) from the TP ratio of 1:11 as they are mainly responsible for administration hence taking up less class teaching. In this connection, the EDB clarified that 1:11 is an overall TP ratio, i.e. it is calculated based on the number of students in AM/PM and WD classes. For classroom teaching, KGs may flexibly maintain the existing arrangements14 so that teachers may have more capacity for various professional activities, cater for the diverse needs of students, handle other issues (such as communication with parents), etc. Moreover, we have made reference to the Education at Glance 2018 released by the Organisation for Economic

14 The minimum number of teachers required to be present and on duty in a KG shall, in relation to the number of pupils present at any time in the KG, be one teacher for every 15 pupils or part thereof.

The principal of the KG can be counted as one of the teaching staff and at least one teacher has to be present in a class.

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Co-operation and Development and relevant government websites. The current TP ratio of 1:11 in Hong Kong is better than many economically advanced regions.

3.6 As for the qualification requirements of KG teachers, the KG sector agreed that Scheme-KGs are well-equipped to employ sufficient teachers possessing C(ECE) or above qualifications based on the TP ratio of 1:11, and the flexibility arrangement could be ceased. Nevertheless, some opined that opportunities should be provided for university graduates of non-ECE major who aspire to become KG teachers. Besides, there are opinions that many KG teachers are degree-holders and that the EDB should consider an all-graduate teaching force in KG as a long-term goal.

3.7 Regarding the career ladder of teachers, the KG sector expressed that apart from a small number of small-scale KGs, most KGs had followed the recommendation and provided teachers with promotion opportunities so as to retain quality teachers. They also shared the view that the EDB should avoid stipulating mandatory requirements, and KGs should be allowed to make flexible arrangements according to their school-based circumstances, such as appointing level coordinators to coordinate the work of each level.

Way forward

3.8 Considering that the current TP ratio of 1:11 in KGs is on par with international standards and even compares favourably with many economically advanced regions, the EDB will maintain the TP ratio of 1:11.

KGs may further enhance their TP ratio by flexibly deploying resources to employ additional teachers provided that their HD programmes are free of charge and fees for WD programmes are maintained at a low level.

3.9 Regarding qualification requirements of teachers, having taken into account stakeholders’ views and actual situation (paragraph 3.3 above), all Scheme-KGs will be required to employ sufficient teachers possessing C(ECE) or above qualifications based on the TP ratio of 1:11 starting from the 2022/23 school year. For individual teachers holding non-ECE degree qualifications, they must enroll in recognised ECE courses within two years after they start the employment, and must acquire

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the qualifications within three years after they start the ECE courses, or else they will not be counted as teachers within the TP ratio of 1:11 in their KGs. The EDB expects that the above arrangement can uphold professional standards of KG teachers, and at the same time, provide a chance for those who aspire to serve as KG teachers but have yet to acquire the C(ECE) qualification. A circular (EDB Circular No. 12/2020) announcing the above arrangement was issued in the end of July 2020, informing schools of the above arrangement.

3.10 As regards the recommendation on establishing an all-graduate teaching force for the KG sector, the vice-principals in Scheme-KGs should hold a bachelor’s degree in ECE or equivalent qualifications.

Moreover, for appointment or promotion to senior teacher posts, KGs are encouraged to accord priority to suitable teachers with a bachelor’s degree in ECE or equivalent qualifications. At present, various teacher education institutions offer pre-service C(ECE) programmes, of which over 50% of the places are government-funded. Graduates of these programmes are able to discharge their teaching duties effectively. The EDB will closely monitor the development of KG education, the needs of the community, etc., and take appropriate follow-up actions accordingly.

3.11 The sector held the general view that the current practice of offering recommendations on teaching ranks provides flexibility and allows KGs to address their own circumstances. Such an arrangement will remain unchanged. As a matter of fact, the ranks as mentioned in paragraph 3.4 above are provided for KGs’ reference only. In actual operation, as KGs vary greatly in their scale and mode of operation, they are provided with ample flexibility to make their own school-based arrangements.

Teachers’ salary

Background and current situation

3.12 Before the implementation of the Scheme, teachers’ salary is fully determined by market force and school-based decisions. The committee set up and consultancy study commissioned by the EDB had conducted in- depth studies on the issue, carefully listened and considered the views from

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stakeholders. On balancing different views and proposals, it was agreed that competitive remuneration should be provided to attract and retain quality teachers, and a salary range should be set for each position of teachers and major supporting staff (clerk, janitor and cook) for KGs’

reference. Setting a salary range for each position not only ensures the competitiveness, it also allows the KG management to flexibly determine the salary of teachers according to their teaching experience, performance, additional duties, qualifications, training received, special skills possessed, etc. This should be more appropriate for KGs. In comparison, a mandatory salary scale determines teachers’ salary according to teaching experience only. Notwithstanding this, with regard to the concerns of KG teachers about their qualifications and experience being not recognised by KGs when determining their remuneration (particularly when changing schools), it was agreed to set out specific implementation guidelines and clear rules and regulations to ensure that KGs properly use the subsidy on teachers’ salary. For example, a certain proportion of the Government funding should be designated for the expenses on teachers’ salary. Also, KGs should be required to set up a transparent school-based mechanism with checks and balances for determining staff salary.

3.13 To ensure that teachers are reasonably remunerated, the EDB has accepted the recommendation of setting salary ranges for teachers of different ranks15. The recommendation is made after balancing different views and proposals of stakeholders and the salary range is devised based on the recommendation of a consultancy study16 . Scheme-KGs are required to remunerate their teachers who hold a C(ECE) or higher qualifications within the prescribed salary ranges. The salary ranges are adjusted according to the annual civil service pay adjustment on a school year basis. Not only has this arrangement safeguarded teachers to have reasonable remuneration, it also allows the KG management to capitalise on the specific features of flexibility and diversity when flexibly determining the salary of the teachers according to their qualifications, teaching experience, performance, additional duties, training received and special skills possessed.

15 Including basic rank teacher, Senior Teacher, Vice principal, Principal II and Principal I.

16 For details, please refer to paragraphs 7.3.12 to 7.3.16 of the “Report of the Committee on Free Kindergarten Education” (May 2015) https://www.edb.gov.hk/attachment/en/edu- system/preprimary-kindergarten/kg-report/Free-kg-report-201505-Eng.pdf

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3.14 Under the Scheme, we put in place various measures to ensure that teachers are reasonably remunerated. First and foremost, KGs are requested to remunerate teachers within the prescribed salary ranges. The EDB conducts annual survey to collect the information about salaries of teachers. We will follow up each case of KGs not remunerating teachers within the salary ranges. Moreover, 60% of the basic unit subsidy is prescribed as teachers’ salary portion which must be used on teachers’

salaries and related expenses. KGs may deploy any portion of the remaining 40% for teachers’ salaries and related expenses, but not vice versa. KGs are required to submit audited accounts annually which are audited by a certified public accountant (practicing) under the Professional Accountants Ordinance (Cap. 50). Besides, the accumulated surplus in the salary portion exceeding the reserve ceiling will be clawed back in order to encourage schools’ optimal use of the subsidy on teachers’ salary.

3.15 Although the provision of salary ranges and the said requirement have given KG teachers protection in terms of remuneration, KG teachers still hope to have stronger assurance and express the demand for setting up a salary scale for KG teachers. As announced in the 2017 Policy Address, the Government would use the data of the three school years from 2017/18 to 2019/20 as the basis to assess the impact of a salary scale for KG teachers on the stability of the teaching force, the sustainability of quality services, as well as the flexibility and diversity of the KG sector. It was also mentioned in the 2018 Policy Address that we would explore the feasibility of introducing a salary scale for KG teachers. As such, drawing on the information collected in the Survey on Kindergarten Teachers and Child Care Staff every September, the EDB has analysed the salaries of teachers in Scheme-KGs in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 school years17 . Major findings are set out below:

(a) Before the implementation of the Scheme (in the 2016/17 school year), the average monthly salary of teachers (including Senior Teachers and Vice-principals) was around $23,000. Upon

17 The EDB was not able to notify KGs of the salary ranges for the 2019/20 school year until 3 March 2020 because the civil service pay adjustment was only approved by the Legislative Council on 28 February 2020. In KGs’ return on teachers’ salary submitted in September 2019, some used the salary levels in the 2018/19 school year as the basis, while others made appropriate adjustments in light of school context. Since the data in question cannot accurately reflect the actual situation in the 2019/20 school year, for this analysis, only data on teachers’ salary in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 school years was considered.

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implementation of the Scheme, the average monthly salary of teachers was around $25,000 and $27,000 in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 school years respectively. This showed significant improvements as compared with the situation before implementation of the Scheme. There is also certain annual pay increase. The overall salary adjustment is also reasonable.

(b) Over 80% of basic rank teachers were remunerated below the mid- point of the salary range concerned. Around half of the KGs employed additional teachers (i.e. exceeding the required TP ratio of 1:11) in these two years. This involved around 1000 additional teachers each year. It shows that KGs have flexibly deployed resources between teacher remuneration and number of teachers employed. For example, a KG may incline to employ additional teachers when the average salaries of its teachers have not reached the mid-point of the salary ranges.

(c) Among the basic rank teachers changing schools in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 school years, around 10% and 20% of the teachers experienced a pay cut. In tandem, over 85% and 80% had a pay rise when changing schools. As most of the teachers changing schools had a pay rise, this shows that KGs would take into account the teaching experience of teachers when they determine the salary of newly employed teachers. Having a salary cut when changing schools is not a common phenomenon.

(d) Among the basic rank teachers with salary at or above the mid- point of the salary range in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 school years, about 70% and 90% respectively had a pay rise of more than

$1,000. This shows that pitching the subsidy at the mid-point of the salary range are not driving KGs to set the salary ceiling of their teachers at the mid-point of the salary range.

Views and discussions

3.16 As the salary arrangements for KG teachers involve KGs’

operation and flexibility in deployment of resources, we discussed with stakeholders in an in-depth manner. We have also prudently assessed the impact of a salary scale for KG teachers on the stability of the teaching force, the sustainability of quality services, as well as the flexibility and diversity of the KG sector. In this connection, the EDB held over 30

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consultation sessions with stakeholders on the salary arrangements for KG teachers. During the consultation, different stakeholders expressed the following concerns over the salary arrangements for KG teachers:

(a) There was a unanimous view in the sector that changes to salary arrangements for KG teachers should be in line with the merits of flexibility, diversity and vibrancy of the KG sector, provision of affordable quality education, as well as maintaining a stable and high-calibre teaching force.

(b) SSBs and KG principals generally agreed that the EDB’s existing practice of providing salary ranges for KG teachers allows KGs to flexibly determine the salary of the teachers according to their qualifications, teaching experience, performance, additional duties, training received, special skills possessed, etc., maintaining KGs’ diversity and flexibility.

(c) Teachers generally considered a mandatory teacher salary scale would demonstrate recognition of their expertise and experience.

3.17 During consultation, the EDB explained and analysed the teachers’ salary data of Scheme-KGs in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 school years with the stakeholders and solicited their overall views on the teachers’ salary arrangements. Stakeholders concurred that KG teachers’

salary arrangements should fulfill the following basic principles:

(a) KGs’ existing flexibility in student admission mechanism should not be affected;

(b) KGs’ flexibility in teacher appointment, allocation of duties and personnel management should be maintained;

(c) the subsidy for teachers’ salary should continue to be based on the TP ratio of 1:11;

(d) subsidies on salary for teachers serving in WD and LWD KGs should continue to be calculated on the co-payment basis; and (e) in determining the salary of individual teachers, KGs should still

be allowed a certain degree of flexibility while teachers’ salary is properly protected.

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3.18 The EDB had detailed discussion with the KG sector on the feasibility of various options on salary arrangements for KG teachers, including adopting a mandatory salary scale similar to that of aided schools, under which KGs will submit to the EDB salaries of teachers as calculated under a mandatory salary scale and the EDB will provide subsidies on this basis. We have also explored the option of KGs remunerating teachers according to a mandatory teacher salary scale, with the Government providing unit subsidy based on the average salary of teachers under a tiered-subsidy arrangement. We have also considered the option of providing a salary scale for KGs’ reference with KGs having full flexibility in determining their school-based arrangements.

3.19 Stakeholders discussed and explored the feasibility of these options. The arrangement of a mandatory salary scale for KG teachers pegged with Government subsidies would mean similar practices as for aided primary and secondary schools. The funding mode for aided schools is tied with several inter-connected components (such as the EDB’s annual approval for the number of operating classes and the staff establishment), and subject to the control measures implemented by the Government, and prudent and balanced planning of school places under school places allocation systems. However, KGs’ mode of operation is distinctly different from that of primary and secondary schools. Hence, adopting a mandatory salary scale for KG teachers in isolation is not feasible. Should it be adopted, it might do more harm than good to the sector. All along, KGs have been admitting students from all districts and admitting students all year round based on their school-based mechanism.

If a mandatory teacher salary scale pegged with subsidy is introduced, for prudent use of public resources, the EDB needs to have planned allocation of school places, approval for the number of operating classes and staff establishment of KGs. In such case, KGs would need a “standard class size” in a similar manner as for primary and secondary schools. However, the accommodation of KG premises vary greatly with the permitted accommodation of each classroom ranges from 10 students or so to over 30 students. It is practically infeasible to have a “standard class size” for all KGs. Besides, the number of students in AM and PM sessions may differ greatly. There are also great differences across KGs on whether they operate WD classes, variation in the enrollment of WD classes, and adjustment in the number of classes in the middle of a school term in light

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of the demand. If approval for the number of operating classes and staff establishment is required, KGs’ flexibility in adjusting the operating classes would be greatly reduced. When admitting students in the middle of a school term, KGs would be required to fill the vacant school places.

This would affect KGs’ flexibility in student admission and reduce choices for parents. The sector was of the view that the school places allocation systems and the mechanism of approving operating classes and staff establishment for primary and secondary schools are not feasible in KGs.

3.20 Currently, most KGs flexibly deploy the surplus in subsidy to employ additional teachers. In the 2017/18 and 2018/19 school years, around 1 000 additional teachers were employed by the Scheme-KGs each year. Should a mandatory teacher salary scale be introduced with subsidy pegged with salary of teachers, the salary subsidy for teachers will only be calculated based on the TP ratio of 1:11. More than 1 000 existing additional teachers would become surplus teachers and have to be laid off.

Besides, the number of teachers entitled under the TP ratio of 1:11 will be affected by the year-on-year changes in the number of students which will bring adverse impact on the stable development of the schools. With decline in enrollment, packing of classes and teacher redundancy would occur in KGs, undermining the stability of the teaching force. There has been a significant decline in student population in the recent years and it is anticipated that the decline would continue. The practice of approving the number of operating classes and staff establishment would lead to serious problem of teacher redundancy.

3.21 It is noteworthy that certain KGs may have accumulated some surplus in the subsidy for teachers’ salary over the past few years. If the subsidy for teachers’ salary is pegged with teachers’ remuneration, the KGs should not have surplus in principle. Hence, the surplus should not be kept by KGs and should be returned to the Government. Moreover, on the principle of co-payment between the Government and parents for WD programmes, salary of teachers teaching WD programmes should be demarcated into the portion subsidized by the Government and the portion borne by school fees. We need to consider whether the portion of salary borne by school fees should follow the mandatory salary scale as well. If so, the mobility of teachers will have a significant impact on school fees.

If not, it is undesirable for teachers of HD and WD programmes

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remunerated differently. In actual operation, most KGs operate both HD and WD programmes and their teachers teach both programmes. It is practically difficult to determine the percentage to be paid by Government subsidy and that to be borne by school fees.

3.22 The EDB has also explored the possibility of dividing the salary ranges for KG teachers into certain salary points without altering the existing principle of subsidy calculation and providing the salary scale for KGs as a reference in determining teachers’ salaries. KGs will be required to indicate the salary on the “Certificate of Service” issued to leaving teachers. KGs will be encouraged to grant annual increments to the newly-appointed teachers as far as possible. While some KGs and SSBs indicated that they had already adopted similar practices and considered this option in line with their operation, other KGs had expressed worries. Since the Government subsidies will continue to be calculated at the mid-point of the salary range, they may not be able to cover the expenses on salaries of experienced teachers in the long run when teachers’

experience progressively increases.

3.23 In conclusion, as regards whether and how to implement a salary scale for KG teachers, the main justification on supporting a mandatory teacher salary scale is to provide better protection to teachers.

Nevertheless, after in-depth analyses, it is found that a mandatory teacher salary scale involves matters relating to school places allocation, approval for operating classes and staff establishment, and the problem of surplus teachers. The funding mode of aided schools cannot be applied to KGs in isolation. The sector was also concerned that school operation had been affected by the social turmoil and COVID-19 epidemic in the past two years. The sector needs to recover. In addition, it is anticipated that there will be a decline in enrollment in the coming years. The sector considered it necessary to maintain the stability of the teaching force and avoid any fundamental changes to the policy. It is more flexible to adopt the existing arrangement of providing salary ranges. The KG management can flexibly determine the salary of their staff according to their qualifications, teaching experience, performance, additional duties, training received and special skills possessed. When individual KGs encounter different situations, such as decline in enrollment, they need flexibility in making school-based arrangements to maintain the stability

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in school development and the teaching force.

Way forward

3.24 As mentioned in paragraph 3.12, the salary structure under the Scheme is basically based on the recommendations of the Committee and consultancy study. It is proposed after thorough consideration of different options and proposals. It is considered the best option which can maintain KGs’ specific features of flexibility and diversity, and ensure their competitiveness. It can also allow the KG management to flexibly determine the salary of their staff according to their teaching experience, performance, additional duties, qualifications, training received, special skills possessed, etc. Hence, it is more suitable for KGs’ situation. After implementation for four years, the previous considerations are still applicable.

3.25 The teacher salary data in paragraph 3.15 shows that teachers’

salary has improved considerably upon the implementation of the Scheme in the 2017/18 school year and teachers in general have pay rise as appropriate each year. This reflects that, on the whole, the provision of salary ranges for teachers under the Scheme are able to offer salary protection to teachers. In addition, as long as teachers’ remuneration is at a reasonable level (i.e. with increment granted within the salary range according to experience), the relevant expenditure can be recognized under fee revision. In fact, KGs should generally have staff with different lengths of service, so it is reasonable for the average salary to be around the mid-point of the salary ranges.

3.26 Under the premise of maintaining KGs’ flexibility and diversity, introducing a mandatory teacher salary scale for KG teachers, which may undermine the stability of teaching force, is not feasible. Hence, the EDB will maintain the existing arrangement of providing salary ranges for teachers. As learnt from the consultation sessions, KG teachers urged for a mandatory teacher salary scale not only because of better protection when changing schools, but also to avoid unreasonable pay which make them feel their professional status not recognised. To strengthen the protection to teachers changing schools, the EDB will require KGs to indicate on the “Certificate of Service” issued

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to leaving teachers relevant employment information, including the rank (such as teachers, Senior Teachers, Vice-principal, Principal) and monthly salary for the new employer’s reference. Provided that KG teachers are remunerated reasonably and the TP ratio is kept within 1:11 (number(s) after the decimal place counted as one teacher), when the subsidy and relevant surplus are insufficient to cover teachers’ salaries, the relevant expenditure can be recognised in fee revision.

Teachers’ continuous professional development

Background and current situation

3.27 With respect to training for KG teachers, the EDB has refined the frameworks for the C(ECE), Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and Postgraduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education programmes in 2018 in consultation with teacher education institutions. The revised frameworks have stepped up the requirements on teaching practicum and enhanced the elements of catering for student diversity (particularly NCS students and students at risk of developmental delay) in the curriculum.

Moreover, the EDB enhanced the framework for the Certification Course for Kindergarten Principals in 2019 to strengthen the contents related to principals’ competencies in leadership, knowledge, skills and professional attitude.

3.28 As for continuous professional development (CPD) of KG principals and teachers, they should participate in 60 hours of CPD activities according to their needs in every three-year cycle starting from the 2018/19 school year. The modes of activities include structured learning and other professional development activities. The implementation details are devised on a school basis. The EDB has introduced training programmes of various themes, which cover the aspects of school administration and financial management, schools’ self- evaluation and continuous development, child development, as well as curriculum planning and implementation, etc., with a view to meeting teachers’ needs and professional development. Moreover, the EDB has provided KG principals and teachers with more Mainland and overseas training programmes, such as visit and exchange programmes to Nanjing, Beijing, Wuhan, Japan and Korea.

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3.29 On the other hand, to maximise the effectiveness of other support measures (e.g. grant for support to NCS students and the Pilot Scheme on On-site Pre-school Rehabilitation Services), the EDB has specified the following training targets:

(a) Regarding the support to students with special needs, each Scheme-KG should have at least one teacher completed the Basic Course as recognised by the EDB by the end of the 2020/21 school year. According to our estimation based on the current situation, about 90% of the Scheme-KGs will have met this target by the end of the 2020/21 school year. As for the remaining 10% of Scheme-KGs, their major reason for not meeting the target is resignation of the trained one. Hence, they need to arrange another teacher to receive the training. Besides, small-scale KGs may have difficulty in arranging their teachers to receive the training. The EDB will provide support to them as appropriate.

(b) On the support to NCS students, all Scheme-KGs admitting NCS students (irrespective of the number) should have at least one teacher completed the Basic Course recognised by the EDB before the end of the 2020/21 school year. According to the EDB’s record, this target has been met by all Scheme-KGs.

3.30 Regarding the training on catering for students with special needs, starting from the 2018/19 school year, the EDB has offered advanced courses and implemented the “School-based Teacher Development Scheme in Supporting Students with Developmental Needs in Kindergartens: A Positive Classroom”. The scheme has provided participating KG teachers with training and school-based consultative services to facilitate their mastery of positive behavioural management strategies on catering for student diversity. The KG sector has actively participated in the teacher development scheme since its launch.

Views and discussions

3.31 During the consultation sessions, participants expressed the following views:

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(a) The sector considered the soft target of 60 hours of CPD activities reasonable and appropriate and hoped that it could remain unchanged. The sector proposed to maintain the current training target for teachers regarding support to NCS students.

(b) Some stakeholders are of the view that novice teachers should possess certain basic attitudes, skills and knowledge and therefore the provision of some compulsory programmes should be required. The EDB should also adopt a more focused approach in providing diversified training programmes for teachers of different ranks (e.g. Senior Teachers and Vice-principals).

(c) Upon the implementation of the Scheme, more opportunities have been available for teachers to receive training and schools are more than willing to release their teachers for training. It was suggested that there should be greater flexibility (e.g. provision of different class time, online learning mode, etc.) in the arrangements of training programmes to facilitate teachers’

participation.

(d) Some KGs expressed their wish to deploy subsidies to organise school-based overseas training programmes in order to enhance teachers’ understanding of the successful experience of other places.

(e) In general, the professional development programmes for teachers on catering for students with special needs were well received by the KG sector which agreed that the training frameworks of both Basic and Advanced Courses could meet the different professional development needs of teachers. Some stakeholders suggested that short courses with specific themes for teachers at large be organised by the EDB to enhance their understanding of early identification of, and intervention for, students with special needs.

(f) If KGs are unable to achieve the EDB’s training target because the trained teacher has changed to another school, the EDB should show understanding to the special circumstances of the KGs.

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Way forward

3.32 The EDB will continue to provide diverse modes (including workshops, seminars, experience sharing, etc.) of professional development programmes for teachers and principals such as courses on curriculum planning, learning and teaching as well as assessment, school administration and financial management, practical legal knowledge about KGs and catering for children’s diverse learning needs. We will also consider providing different modes of delivery (such as different course time, online learning and mixed-mode learning). As for the provision of overseas training by schools, given the relatively large amount of resources involved but only a small number of teachers who can be directly benefited, the EDB reckons that such expenditure should not be covered by Government funding or school funds. The EDB will continue to organise exchange tours in the Mainland and overseas to widen teachers’ horizon.

3.33 In addition, the EDB will implement the following new measures to facilitate the sustainable development of teachers and to further enhance the quality of KG education:

(a) To further strengthen the support for middle leaders in KGs, the EDB will provide structured learning programmes of a longer duration (e.g. lasting for several weeks) for experienced teachers, senior teachers or teachers aspiring for senior posts, for in-depth study on various education issues; and provide subsidies for supply teachers in this regard.

(b) To support KGs’ implementation of school-based projects for facilitating teachers’ professional development, the EDB plans to provide a one-off grant for Scheme-KGs in the 2021/22 school year. Successful applicants will receive a subsidy from

$100,000 to $200,000.

(c) When providing training in catering for students’ special needs in future, the EDB will organise short-term Thematic courses on top of the existing Basic and Advanced Courses. In other words, professional development programmes for KG teachers on catering for the diverse needs of students will be composed of Basic, Advanced and Thematic Courses to address the professional development needs of KG teachers. The EDB will

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also review KGs’ position in meeting the relevant training targets and consider the need for enhancement.

(d) As for novice teachers, the EDB considers providing them with specific programmes to ensure that they will possess the requisite attitudes, skills and knowledge.

3.34 In general, after the implementation of the Scheme, there are on- going improvements on salary, manpower and career ladder of KG teachers.

The EDB will continue to render support to KGs, enhance the quality of teachers, and retain and attract quality KG teachers.

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Chapter 4 Monitoring and quality assurance

Monitoring

Background and current situation

4.1 Scheme-KGs should follow the financial management guidelines issued by the EDB in handling financial arrangements and ledgers, and submit audited accounts to the EDB for inspection every year. As regards their sales of school uniforms, textbooks and refreshment, etc. (generally referred to as “miscellaneous charges”), they should not make profits exceeding the specified limit and should record the income of such charges in the annual audited accounts. Other monitoring measures include prohibiting Scheme-KGs from transferring any surplus (in whatever form, including donation) to their SSBs or other organisations. To meet the requirement of enhancing transparency, KGs should disclose their key operational details (including staff information, school facilities, curriculum, school finance information, and the additional charges for optional activities and items), and give consent to publish such information in the “Profile of Kindergartens and Kindergarten-cum-Child Care Centres” (KG Profile) released to the public. KGs should apply to the EDB for collection or adjustment of school fees. The EDB will handle the applications in accordance with the established criteria, for instance, the income and expenditure situation of KGs and whether the expenditure items are recognised.

4.2 Families with financial needs may apply for the Kindergarten and Child Care Centre Fee Remission Scheme (KCFRS) and the Grant for School-related Expenses for Kindergarten Students under the Student Finance Office to defray school fees and related expenses. Starting from the 2014/15 school year, the fee remission ceiling has been uplifted from the weighted average fees of KGs operating HD and WD programmes under the PEVS to the 75th percentile of school fees charged by these KGs.

4.3 Given that the Government’s recurrent expenditure on KG education has substantially increased under the Scheme, the EDB has the responsibility to enhance the governance and transparency of KGs, and step up monitoring. On financial matters, the EDB must ensure KGs’

Figure

Updating...

References

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