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LCQ11: Barrier-free access and facilities of special schools

    Following is a question by Dr the Hon Fernando Cheung and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (February 20):


    It is the Government's policy to develop a barrier-free physical environment for people with disabilities ("PWDs").  In accordance with this policy objective, newly constructed or substantially altered private buildings are required by the Building (Planning) Regulations (Cap. 123 sub. leg. F) and other relevant subsidiary legislation under the Buildings Ordinance (Cap. 123) to provide access and facilities for PWDs, and the obligatory and recommended design requirements for the provision of the access and facilities are set out in the "Design Manual: Barrier Free Access 1997" ("Design Manual").  Yet, quite a number of disabled students who are currently studying in special schools and their parents have told me that no upgrading works had been carried out in accordance with the Design Manual to improve the access and facilities in such schools, and the disabled students, especially those who are wheelchair bound, find the inadequate provision of barrier-free facilities in the schools very inconvenient.  They have also pointed out that as wheelchairs occupy more space, some special schools which were converted from primary schools simply cannot provide sufficient manoeuvring space for students.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the current number and types of special schools the premises of which do not comply with the obligatory design requirements stipulated in the Design Manual;

(b) whether the Government has formulated any specific plan to carry out redevelopment or improvement works for the special schools referred to in (a) to ensure that their school premises comply with the requirements stipulated in the Design Manual; if so, of the details of the plan; if not, the reasons for that; and

(c) whether the Government has any policy of requiring all special schools in Hong Kong, including those constructed or converted before 1997, to achieve the target of providing barrier-free access and facilities?


Madam President,

(a) Of the existing 60 special schools in Hong Kong, 58 have already had barrier-free access and facilities, and only two schools for social development do not have such access and facilities for the time being. 

(b) Among the foregoing two schools for social development, one is situated on a slope and hence has problem in providing ramps with a suitable slope, while the other also has problem in providing ramps because of small school premises.  However, we will explore with the schools concerned the possible improvement including the installation of an elevator so as to provide barrier-free access.

(c) The majority of special school premises had been built before the relevant regulation came into force.  By means of the School Improvement Programme, reprovisioning or redevelopment projects, the Education Bureau, where feasible, have provided barrier-free access and facilities for these schools.

Ends/Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Issued at HKT 12:26


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