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LCQ 16: School-based After-school Learning and Support Programmes

    Following is a question by the Hon Frederick Fung and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (May 24):


     The Government commenced the School-based After-school Learning and Support ("SALS") Programmes in the summer last year to provide cash grant to schools on application and non-governmental organisations ("NGOs") which work in partnership with schools to run the programmes.  The mode of implementation of the programmes will be revised in the next school year to include community-based projects in addition to the current school-based subsidy.  The Government will set aside $25 million from the recurrent provision of $75 million for the purpose of organising community-based projects, with the remaining provision going to school-based subsidy, and the maximum subsidy per eligible student per annum, which is set for the purpose of calculating the amount of school-based subsidy, will be substantially reduced from $3,600 in this school year to $200 in next school year.  Moreover, although the target group of the SALS Programmes is Primary One to Secondary Seven students from families in receipt of the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance ("CSSA") and full-grant assistance under the Student Financial Assistance Scheme ("SFAS"), schools are also given the discretion to offer not more than 10% of the places reserved for the target students to those needy but not receiving CSSA or SFAS full grant.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the percentage of the schools and NGOs whose applications have been successful in the total number of applications since the commencement of the SALS Programmes, and the reasons for not approving the applications by those unsuccessful applicants, as well as the contents and forms of the after-school activities which have been subsidised;

(b) how to assess the effectiveness of the SALS Programmes, and whether it will consider arranging regular meetings with school principals, teachers, persons in charge of NGOs, social workers and parents to seek their views on the programmes; if not, the reasons for that;

(c) how to determine the provision of $25 million for community-based projects; of the estimated respective maximum amounts of grant for various districts, the maximum amount of grant which can be applied for each activity and the annual maximum subsidy per eligible student; how the priorities for the programmes proposed in various districts will be determined; whether restrictions will be imposed on the types of community-based support programmes, and whether they will consider providing additional amount of funding to NGOs for recruiting personnel to run community-based projects;

(d) of the reasons for the authorities' substantial reduction of the maximum subsidy per eligible student per annum, the estimated number of students who will receive school-based subsidy in the next school year, and whether they have assessed the impact of the subsidy reduction on both schools and students; and

(e) why the authorities have capped the above number of places under the SALS Programmes, which schools have discretion to offer, at not more than 10% of the places reserved for the target students of the programmes, and whether they have assessed the impact of such a cap on both schools and students?


Madam President,

(a) Since the start of the SALS Programmes (the Programmes), i.e. the 2005/06 school year, the success rate for schools and NGOs is around 33% and 9% respectively.  

     A committee comprising representatives from the Education and Manpower Bureau (EMB), Social Welfare Department, NGOs and school sector was set up to formulate the vetting criteria and consider all applications.   In the 2005/06 school year, a total of 930 applications were received.  As the funding requested far exceeded the total allocated sum for the Programmes, approval of the applications was based on the priority set by the said Committee.

     The Programmes included tuition classes, cultural activities, leadership training, visits, etc.

(b) Successful schools and NGOs are required to submit an evaluation report on the effectiveness of the project.  The report should assess whether the project has been implemented in accordance with the design and objective;  the participation and completion rate; feedback from students and parents on the Programmes and other outcome measures included in the Programme plan, as well as academic or affective outcome such as engagement in learning, academic attainment, attitudes etc.  

     Through school visits and regular meetings with representatives of the stakeholders, EMB collects views on the Programmes from stakeholders, including principals, teachers, NGO heads, social workers, students and parents.

(c) Subsequent to our consultation with stakeholders, the mode of implementation has been revised such that a school-based grant at the rate of $200 per target student (applicable to those Primary One (P1) to Secondary Seven (S7) students in receipt of the CSSA or full grant assistance from the SFAS) will be disbursed to schools which intend to offer the Programmes.  The remaining provision of around $30 million will be used for organising community-based projects.

     EMB will invite interested NGOs to apply for funding to organise community-based or district-wise activities under the Programmes. The community-based project grant for each district will initially be apportioned according to the number of target students in each of the districts.  In vetting the applications, the Committee mentioned above will consider the nature of the proposed activities, their relevance to the needs of the particular district, etc. and apportion funds to each district flexibly.

     All expenses to be incurred for the community-based projects, including recruitment of staff to implement the projects, etc., should be included in the budget; there will not be any additional funding for NGOs to appoint staff for this purpose.

(d) When we reviewed the implementation of this yearˇ¦s Programmes, stakeholders (including principals, teachers, parents and NGOs) proposed to provide schools which intended to offer the Programmes a fixed amount of school-based grant (i.e. $200 per target student, meaning those P1 to S7 students in receipt of the CSSA or SFAS full grant).  The remaining provision will be used for community-based projects.  It is estimated that about two hundred thousand students will benefit in the 2006/07 school year.  Compared with the 55,700 students benefited in the 2005/06 school year, the proportion of beneficiaries will increase from around 22% to all target students.

     In the 2006/07 school year, the Programmes include two parts, i.e. the school-based grant and the community-based projects.  EMB will encourage schools to turn their successful and sustainable school-based projects into community-based ones, by means of community-based projects.  Furthermore, the experience gained from the collaboration between schools and NGOs in the 2005/06 school year will facilitate future co-operation, which in turn will benefit more target students.

(e) The target students of the Programmes are those P1 to S7 students in receipt of the CSSA or SFAS full grant.  Nevertheless, students might have different needs, so EMB provides schools with an additional 10% of the places reserved for the target students, so that schools can have the discretion to decide on how to identify disadvantaged students suitable for the Programmes, such as those from needy families not receiving CSSA.

     Since schools have a good knowledge of their disadvantaged students in need of the Programmes, schools welcome such discretionary powers, and can effectively exercise them.

Ends/Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Issued at HKT 14:01