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LCQ 18: Tutorial centres providing homework support through telephone or the Internet

    Following is a question by the Hon Leung Yiu-chung and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (January 18):


     Recently, there have been complaints from some parents of students that certain tutorial centres providing homework support through telephone or the Internet have failed to deliver what they have promised. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of complaints received by the relevant authorities against such tutorial centres in each of the past five years;

(b) whether it will consider amending the legislation to subject these tutorial centres to regulation, if not, of the reasons for that; and
(c) of the measures to advise parents and students on the selection of tutorial centres?

Reply :

Madam President,

(a) Organizations providing tutorial services through Internet and telephone are not required to be registered as "schools". As such, the Education and Manpower Bureau (EMB) does not keep statistics on complaints involving these services.

(b) Formal schooling nowadays provides essential education to students. Many schools providing formal education also arrange remedial classes or after-school homework guidance services for their students in need. Private tutorial assistance to students is therefore only an option, and parents and students should carefully consider their choices in the context of whole-person development.

     Given that tutorial services through Internet and telephone should not pose any safety and health hazard to students, we do not consider it necessary to amend the existing legislation to cover such services. We suggest stepping up consumer education to monitor these services.

(c) We have distributed to parents and students via schools publicity pamphlets on how to choose private schools offering non-formal curriculum, including tutorial schools, reminding them to pay attention to whether the schools have been registered or provisionally registered with EMB and other matters such as fees details, course information and the learning environment. We also broadcast on TV and Radio announcements of public interest to remind the public of these points.  To enhance the transparency of schools, we have uploaded onto the EMB Homepage a list of schools registered or provisionally registered under the Education Ordinance, and set out registration particulars such as the registered school premises and the permitted classroom accommodation, and records of convictions of schools having contravened the Education Ordinance or its subsidiary legislation. Students and parents are welcome to visit the EMB Homepage before enrolling on study or tutorial programmes.

Ends/Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Issued at HKT 14:31


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