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LCQ12: Tutorial services

    Following is a question by the Hon Lee Wing-tat and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (February 28):


     I have received complaints from many members of the public that tutorial services provided via the Internet or by phone are not subject to regulation by the Education Ordinance (Cap. 279), and hence there are tutorial centres providing poor tutorial services through such means. Moreover, it has been reported that some tutorial centres provide tutorial services to students in different rooms by the same teacher through the use of audio-visual equipment, in order to circumvent the restriction that not more than 45 pupils shall be taught at one time by one teacher. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether at present, it has plans to review and amend the Education Ordinance in the light of the social changes and advances in technologies in recent years, so as to regulate the quality of the services provided by tutorial centres (including those providing tutorial services via the Internet and by phone); if not, of the reasons for that; and

(b) whether it is currently collaborating with conventional schools or non-government organisations in providing non-profit-making tutorial services to meet students' needs; if not, whether it will plan to provide such services?


Madam President,

(a) Students receive essential education at formal schools.  The Education and Manpower Bureau (EMB) considers that formal schooling is our priority of work and should be sufficient in supporting the growth and development of students.  Private tutorial assistance to students is only an option.  Students should cautiously consider whether it is necessary to patronise private tutorial schools.

     In regulating registered private tutorial schools, our major consideration is whether the premises comply with various safety and health requirements specified under the Education Regulations, the subsidiary legislation of the Education Ordinance (Ordinance) (Cap. 279).

     Enhancing consumer education is a more effective way to monitor the quality of private tutorial services.  The EMB has distributed leaflets through schools and broadcast on television and radio announcements of public interest to remind parents and students to take note of the course details, learning environment and arrangements for the payment of course fee before patronising a private tutorial school.  To enable parents and students to make informed choices, we have uploaded onto the EMB website a list of schools registered or provisionally registered under the Ordinance, and set out registration particulars such as the registered school premises and the permitted classroom accommodation, and records of schools which have contravened the Ordinance or its subsidiary legislation.  The EMB will investigate and take follow up actions including prosecution according to the Ordinance upon receipt of complaints about contravention of the Ordinance.

(b) The EMB has been implementing the School-based After-school Learning and Support Programmes (Programmes) since the 2005/06 school year.  Under the Programmes, non-governmental organisations, public sector schools, and schools under the Direct Subsidy Scheme may apply to the EMB for a cash grant to operate after-school programmes for primary to senior secondary students in receipt of the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance allowance or full grant under the Student Financial Assistance Scheme.  These programmes include after-school homework guidance and activities to nurture life skills.

Ends/Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Issued at HKT 14:32


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