School fees will be waived by 60 percent of not-for-profit kindergartens if the government accepts the recommendations of the Committee on Free Kindergarten Education, am730 reported Friday.
The committee issued a report proposing that a new policy on free kindergarten education should take effect from the 2017/18 school year at the soonest.
Expenditures of half-day kindergartens will be fully subsidized, meaning pupils would not need to pay tuition fees.
The committee also suggested the government provide rental subsidies to qualified schools.
However, the subsidies may not fully cover the rents of kindergartens located in private properties, so their pupils may have to pay some fees.
Under the plan, full-day kindergartens will get partial subsidies equivalent to 25-30 percent of those allocated to half-day ones.
Private kindergartens will remain unsubsidized.
The report proposes that kindergarten teachers’ salaries should be in the HK$18,000-HK$32,000 range per month, while those of principals should be in the HK$34,000-HK$53,000 range.
The government now gives parents an annual voucher of HK$22,510 per kindergarten pupil. This covers full tuition fees for about 17 per cent of the children.
If the committee’s proposals are accepted, government expenditures on kindergarten education will increase by 50-70 percent to as much as HK$6.97 billion, the report said.
Education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen criticized the report for not adequately supporting full-day kindergartens, as they need more resources.
Insufficient resources at such kindergartens would lead to higher turnover among teachers, Ip said.
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