Following is a question by the Hon Ho Chung-tai and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (March 12):
It is reported that due to a shortage of study rooms provided by the Government, some people have to turn to libraries for their study. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council :
(a) of the number average seating capacity and opening hours of the study rooms in each of the 18 administrative districts in the territory;
(b) whether there are plans to extend the opening hours of the study room, including keeping them open on public holidays ;and
(c) whether there are plans to provide additional study rooms or places for such purpose; if so, of the details?
(a)(1) At present, the Government operates or subsidizes the operation of study rooms through various channels. Details are as follows -
(i) There are a total of 30 study rooms in major and district public libraries. On average, each study room has 170 seats.
(ii) Of the 20 Family Support Resource Centres under the Social Welfare Department (SWD) and 56 Children and Youth Centres, 115 Integrated Children and Youth Services Centres and 13 Community Centres under the non-government organisations, 129 are providing study/reading room facilities with an average seating capacity of 47 each.
(iii) The Education and Manpower Bureau (EMB) subsidies non-profit making organizations to operate 61 study rooms. Their average number of seats is 130 each.
(iv) The Home Affairs Department (HAD) sets up study rooms in three community halls. The average number of seats is 28 each.
(v) The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) provides temporary study corners for students to prepare for examinations in the period from April to June each year in eight selected sports centres in urban districts. They provide an average number of 27 seats each.
(vi) EMB operates a Temporary Study Room Scheme from 1 April to 30 June. Under the Scheme, EMB hires a total of 36 classrooms from 9 secondary and 9 primary schools. Each classroom has an average seating capacity of 40.
The distribution of the above study room facilities in the 18 administrative regions is listed in the Appendix (PDF format).
(2) The operating hours of study rooms operated or subsidized by the various government departments are different. Details are as follows -
(i) Study rooms in public libraries : During the non-examination period (January, February and June to December) except on New Year's day, the first three days of the Lunar New Year, Christmas Day, the day following Christmas day, and library closing days, the study rooms are open for 70 to 74 hours per week. On weekdays, they are open till 10 p.m. During the examination period from March to May, all study rooms will extend their opening hours to seven days a week, including public holidays, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and admission will be by three sessions (i.e. morning, afternoon and evening ).
(ii) Study rooms under SWD's and non-government organisations' ambit : The normal opening hours of these are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and they will also be open during public holidays on a need basis. Other centres meanwhile will convert some of their activity rooms into study/reading rooms to meet the demand of students during examination seasons.
(iii) Study rooms under EMB's ambit : Most of them operate on Monday to Friday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Some operate from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on Monday to Friday and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Ten of them are open on Sunday. Some study rooms also extend their opening hours during March to June to facilitate students to prepare for examinations.
(iv) Study rooms under HAD's ambit : Two of the three study centres are in Tsuen Wan and they are open from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. from Monday to Saturday. The one in Southern district is open from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday. It is also open from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday. These are closed on public holidays.
(v) Temporary study corners under LCSD's ambit : They are located in 3 sports centres in urban districts and are open from March/April (subject to local demand) to end June, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, except for maintenance.
(vi) Temporary study rooms under EMB's ambit : Those located in primary schools are open from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday to Friday whilst those located in secondary schools are open from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. from Monday to Friday. All of them are closed on public holidays.
(b) At present, there are already some study rooms that are open on public holidays. Depending on the need, others will be open on public holidays or will extend their operating hours. To meet students' need during the peak of the examination period, EMB also hires classrooms in schools as temporary study rooms. At present, the Government has no plan to further extend the opening hours of study rooms.
(c) According to the present plans, LCSD will open two new district libraries next year. These two libraries will provide 330 additional study room seats. Besides, LCSD will extend the provision of temporary study corners to 29 recreation centres in 18 districts to meet the seasonal demand. EMB will continue to operate the Temporary Study Room Scheme to provide additional study room facilities.
End/Wednesday, March 12, 2003