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LCQ20: The Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education

     Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (January 13):


     The Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education ("the Academy"), which was formally established in 2008, received a grant and donation each of $100 million from the Government and Sir Joseph Hotung respectively as start-up funding to support its development.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:

(a) its annual enrolment since the Academy's establishment in 2008, as well as the numbers of and the areas covered by the programmes, workshops, master classes, weekend courses, exchange programmes and mentorship programmes provided to the students;

(b) the number of and the areas covered by the training courses, seminars and talks provided by the Academy to teachers to date;

(c) the number of and the areas covered by the activities such as seminars and workshops provided by the Academy to parents to date, and the number of support groups set up with the assistance of the Academy;

(d) the expenditure, income and budget of the Academy for the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 financial years;

(e) the highlights of the work and plans of the Academy for the coming three years; and

(f) the amount used and balance of the start-up funding at present, when the balance of the funding is expected to be exhausted, and whether the Government will arrange for further funding allocation?



(a) The Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education (HKAGE) started to operate in the school year of 2008/09.  Within this school year, despite the fact that the HKAGE was in the process of establishing the infrastructure for a new organisation, including identifying the most appropriate service delivery model, staffing requirements and governance procedures, the HKAGE took over from EDB in phases the "Support Measures for the Exceptionally Gifted Students Scheme" and continued to provide services to 2,370 students under this Scheme.  The domains of training programmes include Humanities, Leadership, Mathematics, Sciences, Multi-disciplinary and Personal Growth. In addition to the cohort of 2,370 students, 1,357 new students were admitted during the year 2008/09.

     In the year 2008/09, the HKAGE held 41 programmes for students including 4 seminars, 4 workshops, 31 courses, 1 learning camp and 1 exchange programme.

     In the year 2009/10, as of December 2009, the HKAGE has admitted 1, 385 new students. The second round of student nomination by schools will be launched in the next school term.  

     For the year 2009/10, the HKAGE plans to organise 75 programmes including 16 seminars, 14 workshops, 43 courses, 1 exchange programme and 1 mentorship programme, and will set up online courses. As of December 2009, the HKAGE has held 13 programmes: 3 seminars, 3 workshops and 7 courses.  The target number of students to be served for the year is expected to reach 3,500.
(b) In the year 2008/09, the HKAGE took over in phases the work of teacher training from the EDB. During the period, 18 professional development programmes were held for teachers and educators. They included 2 mass lectures, 4 seminars, 5 workshops, 1 introductory course, 4 foundation courses, 1 intermediate course and 1 learning circle. 3 outreach talks were held for schools.  The number of teacher participants in these programmes totaled 1,081.

     For the year 2009/10, the HKAGE plans to organise 28 teacher professional development programmes including 1 mass lecture, 13 thematic seminars/workshops, 6 introductory courses, 3 foundation courses, 3 intermediate/advanced courses and 2 learning circles. As of December 2009, the HKAGE has held 9 training programmes: 1 mass lecture, 4 thematic seminars/ workshops, 2 introductory courses, 1 foundation course and 1 intermediate course.  The target number of teachers to be served is around 1,900.

     From the year 2008, the HKAGE has been providing programmes related to the following strands: curriculum and instruction, affective education, and generic topics on gifted education such as identification of gifted children and talent development.

(c) In the year 2008/09, the HKAGE took over in phases parent education and established parent support measures including consultation services. During the period, 7 training programmes including 4 seminars and 3 workshops attended by 467 families were held. The topics include "the affective needs of gifted children", "higher order thinking skills" and "nurturing optimistic children". The number of parents being served is 1,241.  In addition, the Executive Director and the Associate Directors offer talks to parent groups/parent-teacher associations by invitation.  

     For the year 2009/10, the HKAGE plans to organise 29 parent programmes including 1 annual conference, 5 seminars, 7 workshops and 16 parent-child programmes and will form 3 parent learning groups (for parents of twice-exceptional gifted children). As of December 2009, the HKAGE has held 8 training programmes for parents: 5 seminars and 3 outreach talks. The topics of the seminars include "Nurturing the Gifted: Be a Parent Advocate" and "Developing EQ in Gifted Children".  The target number of parents to be served is around 5,000 for the whole year.

     The HKAGE set up the Consultation Centre in September 2008 which includes a phone hotline and an email service where parents (and others) can access if they have issues that require information and support. It is a free service, manned by an Education Advisor and supported by an Educational Psychologist. The HKAGE website ( has a wealth of information for all stakeholder groups and is updated regularly.

(d) The audited accounts for 2008-09 show income of $3.2 million (deposit interests) and expenses of $9.2 million. Due to the fact that the programmes were held during the transitional period, part of the programme costs was shouldered by the EDB. From April to November 2009, interest income, amounting to $0.25 million, has significantly been reduced due to the economic environment. Unrealised gains on the investment as at November 2009 were $5 million. The budget for 2009-10 allows for expenditure is $25.1 million.

(e) Summary of Proposed Key Operational Priorities in 2010-2013 is at the Annex.

(f) As of November 2009 the net assets of the Academy stood at $196.2 million.  This is made up of equipment, cash deposited in bank accounts and funds invested with a fund manager.  The rate of capital draw down will depend on the way in which the HKAGE expands and the number of programmes offered in the coming years. Because of the need for future expansion, and in view of the present operations, further funding arrangements e.g. further injection by the government, sponsorships etc. are expected after several years.

Ends/Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Issued at HKT 15:49


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