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Transcript of remarks by SED

     Following is the transcript of remarks (English portion) made by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, at a media stand-up today (March 25) on optimising class structure through class reduction on a voluntary basis to facilitate sustainable development of secondary schools:

Secretary for Education: Over the past few months, I have met with principals of various schools, school sponsoring bodies and parent representatives to listen to their views as to how best we can provide an environment conducive to students' learning as well as to sustaining the stable development of schools.

     Having considered the views of different stakeholders, we decided to implement a programme for secondary schools to consider how best to optimise the class structure through voluntary class reduction.  

     Under this arrangement, participating schools will be afforded with greater flexibility to cope with the implementation of the new senior secondary (NSS) curriculum and to provide students with more diversified subject choices.  I have just finished a meeting with the representatives of various school councils and school heads to brief them on the detailed arrangement.  I am glad that they are all very supportive of the proposal.

     As a stabilising measure, we will provide a five-year toleration period to participating schools to accommodate excessive teachers due to voluntary class restructuring. The double-cohort year (2011/12) will not be counted for this period.

     We will also provide an additional subsidy of $250,000 per annum to enable schools to better implement the NSS curriculum.

     Voluntary class restructuring will take effect from the 2011/12 school year.  Special consideration will be given to schools which are more prepared for the introduction of the system this year.

Reporter: Mr Suen, how effective do you think this restructuring will actually help stop the closure of secondary schools and why would you not consider introducing medium size class teaching?

Secretary for Education: I think we have already said that small class teaching or medium size teaching is a matter of enabling schools to better provide education. But in Hong Kong, we must have regard to the resources that would have to be devoted to this particular measure. And we have just introduced small class teaching in primary schools, which cost us a considerable diversion of resources and so we are not at present in a position to consider the introduction of a similar measure to secondary schools. And so in the circumstance, we got to come to an agreement on how best we use our resources in order to ensure that the class structure is stabilised and hence the introduction of the present arrangement which we have considered in details with the schools representatives.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Thursday, March 25, 2010
Issued at HKT 15:45


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