Chief Executive-elect Carrie Lam plans to give out HK$30,000 education vouchers to help secondary school leavers pursue self-financed tertiary courses.
The program will be funded by an additional HK$5 billion set aside for the education sector, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Under the proposal, secondary students who have attained at least two level 3s and two level 2s in the four core subjects of Chinese, English, Mathematics and Liberal Studies in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education examination but are not accepted by any of the subsidized tertiary programs may apply for education vouchers.
The proposed scheme is set to benefit more than 5,000 students every year.
Wong Kwan-yu, chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, said the HK$30,000 being offered is more than the annual subsidy of HK$25,000 the HKFEW has bargained for.
Lam also offered to increase the ratio of regular teachers per class for primary schools, junior and senior secondary schools from the existing number 1:1.5, 1:1.7 and 1:2.0 to 1:1.6, 1:1.8 and 1:2.1, respectively.
That is an increase of 0.1 regular teacher per class across all levels. The new arrangements will see an additional 2,400 teachers being hired.
Wong said the increase would help convert half of the contract teachers into regular appointments.
Altogether, these initiatives will cost HK$3.6 billion.
Lam was quoted as saying by Wong that the HK$5 billion amount is not the ceiling for extra educational funding. However, Lam did not say how the remaining HK$1.4 billion will be spent.
Sources said Lam is planning to appoint a special education needs co-ordinator for each primary and secondary school. However, a pay scale for kindergarten teachers is unlikely to materialize.
Lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen, who represents the education sector, said he believes there is room for the government to do more, although he said some of the measures proposed are acceptable.
Ip said it will take gradual measures in order to achieve the 0.3 teachers per class that they have been striving for.
Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union chairman Fung Wai-wah said the HKPTU will submit opinions from its members in the coming week.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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