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LCQ20: Employment of regular teachers with fixed-term contracts by aided schools

     Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Man-kwong and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (May 5):


     I have learnt that when vacancies of permanent teaching posts arise within their approved teaching establishment, quite a number of aided schools recruit only contract teachers to fill such vacancies.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the numbers of aided primary and secondary schools which employ contract teachers to fill the permanent teaching posts within their approved teaching establishment at present, the numbers of such contract teachers, together with a breakdown by District Council district as set out in the table at Annex 1:

(b) of the various reasons for aided primary and secondary schools to employ contract teachers to fill the permanent teaching posts within their approved teaching establishment; and

(c) how the authorities deal with or follow up the situation that some schools employ contract teachers to fill a considerable number of permanent teaching posts within their approved teaching establishment?



(a) At present, the posts on the approved teaching establishment in aided schools are regular posts.  The teachers filling these posts (except those temporary or supply teachers) are regular teachers who are eligible to join the Grant/Subsidised Schools Provident Fund Schemes.  According to the teacher appointment information provided by schools, most regular teachers do not have a fixed term of employment.  Only a small number of regular teachers are employed for a clearly defined contract period.  In the 2009/10 school year, the numbers of aided primary and secondary schools in the school districts of the Education Bureau (EDB) and the related statistics on the employment of regular teachers with fixed-term contracts are shown at Annex 2.

(b) According to schools, the reasons for employing regular teachers with fixed-term contracts are summarised as follows:

* When vacancies of regular teaching posts arise, it is necessary for schools to consider factors such as curriculum planning and organisation, as well as the subject match of teachers. For example, some schools have employed teachers on fixed-term contracts to teach the new senior secondary subjects so as to allow flexibility in staffing arrangements when the combinations of elective subjects have to be adjusted according to the needs of students.

* The sponsoring bodies or schools anticipated that there would be redundant teachers arising from changes in class structure in the coming few years. Thus they have to introduce flexible arrangements to alleviate the problem in handling teacher redundancy in future and to maintain stability of the existing teaching force.

* In recent years, some additional time-limited teaching posts have been created to provide necessary support for schools at the initial stage of implementation of some education initiatives.  Some schools have therefore chosen to employ teachers with fixed-term contracts to fill both the time-limited posts as well as the regular posts in one go in order to observe the teachers' performance during the initial period of employment before offering substantive appointments.

(c) All along, schools have been encouraged to adopt the most suitable teacher appointment arrangements in accordance with their own needs for continuous development and provision of quality education for students.  At the same time, schools should also endeavour to provide a stable working environment for their teachers in order to retain experienced teachers and enhance their professionalism.  If there are any irregularities, EDB will contact the school concerned for details and justifications, and offer advice to the school to facilitate its sustainable development and to maintain staff morale.

Ends/Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Issued at HKT 15:31


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