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LCQ11: Statistics about primary and secondary education

    Following is a question by the Hon Audrey Eu and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (May 17):


Will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the respective numbers of schools, students and classes in each grade in respect of each type of secondary and primary schools (including government, aided, Direct Subsidy Scheme, private and international schools) in each of the school years from 2004/05 to 2010/11;

(b) in respect of secondary and primary schools, of the respective current annual average costs per class and per student, and the respective numbers of standard classrooms which are in use and left vacant; and

(c) whether it has estimated the following in each of the school years from 2006/07 to 2010/11:

(i) the respective numbers of children who will be in the age groups for Primary One and Secondary One;

(ii) the accumulated savings in public expenditure due to class reduction and school closure; and

(iii) the additional public expenditure which will be incurred each year if small class teaching is implemented in all government and subsidized primary schools, and of how such amounts are worked out?


Madam President,

(a) The numbers of schools, students and operating classes in each grade broken down by type of schools at primary and secondary levels in the 2004/05 and 2005/06 school years are given in Annex 1.

     Regarding the school years from 2006/07 to 2010/11,we are not able to provide the projected figures broken down by school type.  This is because the ultimate distribution of students amongst the different types of schools depends on the school places allocation results and the final enrolment of individual schools, both of which are subject to parental choices and population movement.

    Also, schools may operate classes of different sizes and the number of operating classes is subject to change in each year.

(b) In the 2005/06 school year, the average cost per class and the unit cost per pupil for aided secondary and whole-day aided primary schools are as follows:

         Average cost per class  Unit cost per pupil
                ($)                      ($)
Secondary    1,200,100                 32,260
Primary       792,000                  24,370

     In the 2005/06 school year, the number of standard classrooms in public sector primary (government and aided) schools and that in secondary (government, aided and Caput) schools are 12 780 and 11 120 respectively.  By comparing the number of standard classrooms with the number of operating classes, we may have a rough idea of the utilisation of standard classrooms.  As far as public sector primary schools are concerned, the number of operating classes in the 2005/06 school year is about 10% less than that of standard classrooms.  In fact, many schools use the standard classrooms for other educational purposes such as Information Technology room, language laboratory and remedial teaching room. Therefore, in reality, the actual proportion of vacant classrooms should be smaller.  As for public sector secondary schools, floating classes (i.e. those not having home classrooms) exist and hence the total number of operating classes is slightly more than that of standard classrooms (by about 2%).  

(c) (i) Based on the latest territorial population projections released by the Census and Statistics Department in mid-2004, the projected number of school-age population for Primary One (aged 6) and Secondary One (aged 12) for each of the school years between 2006/07 and 2010/11 are given in Annex 2.  It should be noted that the actual number of Primary One and Secondary One students in the public sector schools is affected by parental choices.  Besides, students enrolled in Primary One and Secondary One could be under or over the age of 6 and 12 respectively.  Hence, the actual number of students in Primary One and Secondary One could be different from the projected figures.

     (ii) As explained in (a), we are not in a position to provide accurate projections on the number of classes to be operated amongst schools in future years.  As a matter of fact, the present system allows schools the flexibility to operate a class even if there are unfilled places.  Hence, we are not able to provide accurate estimates on the possible cumulative savings arising from class reduction.  

     On the other hand, the estimated total savings arising from closure of schools in the 2006/07 to 2009/10 school years are as follows:

  School Year         Estimated Savings ($m)
    2006/07                  50
    2007/08                  30
    2008/09                  38
    2009/10                   5
    -------               ------
     Total                   123

Note: Information is not available for estimating the savings in the 2010/11 school year.  

     (iii) If small class teaching is implemented in all government and aided primary schools from Primary One to Six in one go as from the 2006/07 school year, the estimated additional expenditure incurred each year in the next five school years is set out in Annex 3.

Ends/Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Issued at HKT 15:02