LCQ16: Resources provided to schools admitting NCS students

     Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Man-kwong and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Education, Mr Kenneth Chen, in the Legislative Council today (December 3):


     The Education Bureau provides a special grant of $300,000 per annum to each designated school which admits non-Chinese speaking students (including ethnic minority students), and the amount of grant will increase according to the number of non-Chinese speaking students.  However, some non-designated schools which also admit non-Chinese speaking students have not been provided with the special grant.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the annual amount of special grant received by each designated school, the annual number of non-Chinese speaking students admitted (with a breakdown by race and grade), and the percentage of such students among all students of the school in each of the past three years;

(b) of the names of non-designated schools which have admitted non-Chinese speaking students, broken down respectively by the intake of such students (less than 10, 10 to 19, 20 to 29 and 30 or above) and the percentage of such students among all students of the school;

(c) whether it has provided additional resources and manpower to non-designated schools, so as to facilitate the counselling of such students and enhance the efficacy of teaching in Chinese;

(d) as section 49 of the Race Discrimination Ordinance (Cap 602) stipulates that if special measures that are reasonably intended to ensure that persons of a particular racial group have equal opportunities with other persons or to meet their special needs, then such measures shall not be rendered unlawful, whether the authorities concerned have assessed if the provision of special grant only to designated schools is against the spirit of that section; and

(e) whether it will consider providing reasonable resources to schools according to the number of non-Chinese speaking students enrolled, e.g. providing additional teachers to non-designated schools with an intake of 10 or more non-Chinese speaking students, so as to help such students to integrate into mainstream schools and enable them to learn subjects taught in Chinese more effectively?



(a) The number of Non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students admitted in each designated school by grade, the percentage of such students among all students of the school and the amount of special grant received by the school in the past three years are set out at Annex I.  

(b) Under normal practice, we do not disclose the name and situation of individual schools which have reported data via the Student Information Management System. Annex II only sets out the number of other schools (i.e. non-designated schools), with the intake of NCS students ranged from less than 10, 10 to 19, 20 to 29 and 30 or above, and the percentage of NCS students among all students of such schools.

(c) All schools admitting NCS students, irrespective of whether they are "designated schools" or not, are provided with resources for meeting students' diverse needs and can deploy these resources flexibly to help the NCS students overcome various sorts of learning difficulties.  These resources include various grants for remedial teaching, Capacity Enhancement Grant, Student Guidance Service Grant, etc.  Besides, all schools with intake of newly arrived NCS students are also provided with the School-based Support Scheme Grant to run school-based programmes for NCS students.

(d) Our provision of special grant to the designated schools does not go against the spirit of the special measures referred to in Section 49 of the Race Discrimination Ordinance (Cap 602).  In recent years, we have been providing focused support to designated schools to assist them in accumulating experience and developing expertise in the teaching and learning of NCS students.  This would enable them to serve as anchor points for sharing experience with other schools which have also admitted NCS students with a view to facilitate learning effectiveness of the NCS students.  It is in this context that designated schools are provided with a special grant to put in place school-based measures to help their NCS students overcome various learning difficulties, particularly in the learning of the Chinese language, and to facilitate the studentsˇ¦ smooth integration into the community.  To facilitate experience sharing, we have formed a support network comprising both designated and non-designated schools.  Relevant learning and teaching materials developed by the Education Bureau (EDB) in collaboration with the schools have been uploaded to the EDB website with printed copies available in the EDB Central Resources Centre for teachersˇ¦ reference.  We hope that all NCS students in our local schools can benefit from the above arrangements.

     In fact, our support to schools is not limited to special grants for designated schools.  We have been putting in place a package of support measures to cater for the learning needs of NCS students studying in different schools, particularly in the learning of the Chinese language, in order to enhance their learning effectiveness and facilitate their integration into the community.  These measures include the following:

     (i)  We have commissioned the University of Hong Kong to provide different forms of professional support services for 24 secondary schools with NCS students, among which 18 are non-designated schools, for a period of three years starting from the 2008/09 school year.

     (ii) Other measures that benefit all NCS students studying in different schools include providing training programmes for Chinese Language teachers in primary schools with NCS students starting from the 2006/07 school year to enhance their skills and knowledge in teaching Chinese to these students; the development of the Supplementary Guide to the Chinese Language Curriculum for NCS Students that has already been uploaded to the EDB website in late November. The printed copies of the Supplementary Guide and a series of teaching materials will be distributed to schools for reference by the end of 2008.  The Supplementary Guide supplements the principles, strategies and recommendations for implementing the Chinese Language curriculum in the learning context of NCS students.  We undertake to provide schools and NCS students with a full set of learning and teaching materials for NCS students on the Chinese Language curriculum within one year after the promulgation of the Supplementary Guide.  We will also compile a Chinese-English vocabulary list and develop tools for assessing the Chinese language standard of NCS students.

     (iii) NCS students, in particular those who have a late start in learning Chinese, may take the remedial programmes provided by the Chinese Language Learning Support Centre after school or during holidays.  The Centre also assists in the development of related teaching resources and organises experience sharing workshops for secondary school teachers supporting NCS students.  Incoming NCS Primary 1 entrants and NCS students proceeding to Primary 2, Primary 3 and Primary 4 can choose to take the bridging programmes organised by their schools during the summer holidays to consolidate what they have learnt at Learning Stage 1 and to smoothen their transition to Learning Stage 2.

(e) As resources are limited, we must be prudent in considering different factors, including priorities on resources deployment and policy implications, before implementing a proposal.  In formulating  the support measures for NCS students, we have listened to the views of the stakeholders before coming up with a cost-effective approach to helping NCS students enhance their learning effectiveness and integrate into the community.  The measures need time to take root and to create a sustainable impact on students.  Meanwhile, we will continue to evaluate the implementation of these measures.  We do not have any plans to provide additional resources for non-designated schools admitting NCS students at this stage.

Ends/Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Issued at HKT 16:46