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LCQ7: Support provided to teachers or principals for coping with work-related pressure

    Following is a question by Dr Hon Yeung Sum and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (March 22):

Question :

     Regarding the support provided to teachers or principals for coping with work-related pressure, will the Government inform this Council:

(a)  of the number of calls for help received since the official launch of the Teachers' Helpline established for the above purpose, and the nature of help sought and, among them, the number of cases requiring follow-up action by the authorities, as well as the details of such cases;

(b)  whether it will publish on a regular basis the number of cases in which help was sought through the Helpline; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(c)  of the way forward for the Helpline; and

(d)  whether it will consider setting up a teacher health centre to enhance the pre-service and in-service psychological health training for teachers?


Madam President,

(a)  The Teachers' Helpline of the Education and Manpower Bureau (EMB) has come into operation since January 16, 2006 to help teachers cope with work-related pressure.  As at March 12, 2006 (i.e. 8 weeks after the launch of the service), a total of 460 calls have been received.

     The nature of calls received included requests for emotional counseling, expression of opinions, enquiries, complaints, etc.  A caller might request more than one type of services.  During the above-mentioned period, Helpline service was provided 598 times in total, of which 46% was for expression of views, 27% required emotional counseling, and 16% and 11% were enquiries and complaints respectively.

     Regarding the issues of concerns raised by the callers, 58% was related to school administration and personnel, 28% on education policy, and 10% and 4% on teachers' terms of employment and personal problems respectively.

     As for cases requiring follow-up action, face-to-face counseling and other professional counseling services have been provided to seven callers.  There are also 51 cases of enquiries or complaints relating to individual school administration matters that EMB needed to follow up.  Details of the cases cannot be disclosed due to data confidentiality.

(b)  The number of cases received by the Helpline is for EMB's internal reference and is also forwarded to the Committee on Teachers' Work regularly for reference.  In the past few weeks, EMB has also released statistical information to the media upon their requests.

(c)  EMB will closely keep in view the usage of the Helpline service to decide on its long-term arrangement.

(d)  Established in 1989, the Hong Kong Teachers' Centre (HKTC) aims, inter alia, to provide support for teachers, including enhancing teachers' health knowledge and awareness.  The HKTC has been conducting various seminars, workshops and cultural activities to help teachers relieve their work pressure.  In addition, Induction Courses for New Teachers are organised annually to help new teachers adapt to the teaching environment.

     The HKTC will step up its efforts in promoting teachers' physical and mental health and provide more courses and activities on relieving work pressure for teachers.  Furthermore, the HKTC will collaborate with other professional organisations and tap their expertise and experience to jointly promote mental health education and help teachers handle stress positively.

Ends/Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Issued at HKT 13:03