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Kindergarten organisations accept education voucher proposals

    The Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, today (November 18) met with 60 representatives from over 40 kindergartens (KG) organisations to listen to their views on the introduction of education vouchers for pre-primary education.

     Following in-depth exchanges, Professor Li was pleased to note that all the representatives had accepted Government's earlier package for education vouchers in totality, including five basic principles as follows:

* Only non-profit-making KGs can redeem education vouchers to ensure all public money will be spent on education;

* KGs have to improve their quality and meet the prescribed standards within five years, after which substandard KGs will no longer be subsidised;

* The school fee must not exceed $24 000 per annum for half-day KGs or $48 000 for whole-day KGs;

* KGs have to enhance their transparency, disclosing to the public information on account, the qualifications and salaries of teachers, etc; and

* The Government will not set up a remuneration system for KG teachers, but welcomes the trade to take the initiative to establish its own salary scale for teachers.

     Taking into account the special circumstances of those parents with children currently studying at private independent KGs or to be admitted to these KGs in the 2007/08 school year, the Government will introduce a three-year transitional period to include the students in the scheme.

     Based on the KG sector's unanimous support for the above package, the bureau will reflect their views to the Panel on Education of the Legislative Council and seek funding approval from the Finance Committee. It is hoped that the education voucher scheme could be introduced in the 2007/08 school year as anticipated by the sector.

Ends/Saturday, November 18, 2006
Issued at HKT 18:25