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SEM meets with kindergarten organisations
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    The Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur KC Li, today (November 29) met with representatives from a number of kindergarten (KG) organisations and listened to their views on the introduction of education vouchers.

     All the representatives accepted the five basic principles announced by the Government earlier 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 accounts, the qualifications and salaries of teachers, etc; and

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

     During the in-depth exchange today, the Bureau noted the representatives' concern over the salaries of KG teachers and agreed that teachers should receive reasonable remuneration. Based on the consensus, the Government stressed that it would not set up a remuneration system for KG teachers, but welcomed the KG sector's initiative to establish its own salary scale or make reference to the existing salary scale.

     The representatives unanimously supported the Government's package for education vouchers in totality and called on the Bureau to seek funding approval from the Finance Committee as soon as practicable. They hoped that the education voucher scheme could be introduced in the 2007/08 school year. The Bureau will continue to discuss the issue with the KG sector.

Ends/Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Issued at HKT 18:12

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