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Improvement measures to extend years of study for students in special schools

     The Education Bureau announced today (March 4) that additional school places would be provided for special schools to cater for students with genuine needs to extend their years of study.  Improvement measures will be implemented in phases with effect from the 2010/11 school year.  Upon full implementation, additional recurrent expenditure incurred would be over $300 million per year.

     A spokesman for the Education Bureau said, "As a norm, students with intellectual disability in special schools should complete their primary and secondary education in 12 years and those in special schools offering ordinary curriculum to children with physical disability or hearing impairment should complete their schooling in 13 years. With the improvement measures, students with valid reasons will be allowed to extend their years of study using the additional places.

     "Schools should set up an objective mechanism approved by their school management committees, and exercise professional judgement on the use of these additional school places under a fair, evidence-based and transparent system. Under the new senior secondary academic structure, students of special schools will graduate and leave school on completion of Secondary Six," the spokesman said.

     The valid reasons included: (1) prolonged absence from school due to justifiable reasons; (2) serious disruptions in learning; and (3) serious adaptation problems.  

     "These valid reasons are the objective criteria established after extensive discussions with the special school sector and parents.  They should address the condition of the majority of students who need to extend their years of study."

     The spokesman stressed that the implementation of the improvement measures would result in additional classes being operated in special schools, which would require additional classrooms and boarding places.  

     "In the process of consultation, both the special school sector and parents expressed appreciation of the fact that we would face the problem of insufficient space in school premises and need time for conversion works and school building projects.

     "Based on mutual trust and understanding, all parties involved  discussed the issues in a pragmatic manner, and agreed that these improvement measures should be implemented in phases, with those having the physical capacity to proceed first," the spokesman said.

     "We will implement these improvement measures according to short, medium and long term plans.  That is, full implementation in schools with the physical capacity; conducting conversion works in those schools with such a need in the medium term; and identifying suitable sites to build new schools in the long run," said the spokesman.

     "The Government attaches great importance to providing quality education for students with special educational needs.  We will continue to collaborate with the special school sector and parents with a view to improving the quality of special education and providing appropriate support and care for students in special schools," the spokesman added.

Ends/Thursday, March 4, 2010
Issued at HKT 15:25


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