Following is a question by the Hon Ho Chung-tai and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Prof. Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (October 9):
In order to enhance students' English language proficiency, the Native-speaking English Teacher (NET) Scheme and the Native-speaking English Teacher and English Language Teaching Assistant (ELTA) Scheme have been respectively introduced in all public sector primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the differences in job duties, educational qualifications and working experience required of NETs and ELTAs in primary schools;
(b) for the 2001-02 and 2002-03 school years, of the respective total numbers of NETs in primary and secondary schools, as well as the respective average numbers of these teachers per school; and
(c) whether it has plans to allocate additional resources for recruiting more NETs and ELTAs; if not, of the reasons for that?
(a) The main duties of Native-speaking English Teachers (NETs) include the following:
(i) To undertake teaching duties, developing and trying out good teaching strategies/activities related to the learning, teaching and assessment of English;
(ii) To provide support for the English Panel, including contributing to school-based curriculum development and professional development of fellow teachers as well as developing and preparing learning/teaching materials;
(iii) To organize and conduct extra-curricular activities related to English learning and teaching;
(iv) To act as a language policy advisor for the Principal and teachers in the school; and
(v) Where applicable, to play an active role in regional teacher development programmes, including lesson demonstrations and experience-sharing with other teachers.
The role of the English Language Teaching Assistants (ELTAs) is to provide assistance for local English teachers, and create an authentic English environment for building the students' interest in learning English.
NETs and ELTAs must be native-speakers of English or possess native-speaker English competence. NETs are required to have a bachelor's degree and teacher training qualification in Primary Education or Teaching of English as a Foreign or Second Language. ELTAs should at least be high school graduates.
(b) In the 2001-2002 school year, there were 460 NETs employed in 420 public-sector secondary schools. In the 2002-2003 school year, 470 NETs are employed in 430 secondary schools, which means each secondary school has at least one NET. The NET and ELTA Scheme is introduced in primary schools in the 2002-2003 school year. There are at present 160 NETs employed in 320 primary schools in a 2-schools-share-1 NET mode.
(c) The Education Department has earmarked sufficient funds for providing NETs for all public-sector primary schools. In view of a global teacher shortage and the demand of neighbouring countries for NETs, some primary schools are unable to recruit a NET in the current year. These schools are each provided with a cash grant of $150,000 a year to employ full-time or part-time ELTAs. For the time being, no additional funding is required for the Scheme.
End/Wednesday, October 9, 2002