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LCQ4: Ratios of graduate teacher posts

     Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Man-kwong and a reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (November 23):


     The Government announced in the 2007 Policy Address that it would increase the ratios of graduate teacher posts within the teaching establishment in public sector (government and aided) secondary and primary schools by two school years, i.e. 2008-2009 and 2009-2010, to 85% and 50% respectively, yet, there has not been any further increase in such ratios since then.  Given that over the years, teachers trained by teacher training institutions are all teachers with degree qualifications, quite a number of teachers have complained to me that although they have degrees in teaching and have been employed for many years, and their work in school is no different from that of graduate teachers, they are still holding non-graduate teacher posts only at present, and the existing arrangement creates divisions and conflicts among teachers, and deals a severe blow to their morale.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the numbers of teachers with degree qualifications but holding non-graduate teacher posts in public sector secondary and primary schools respectively in this school year;

(b) whether the ratios of graduate teachers in all public sector secondary and primary schools have reached 85% and 50% respectively; if not, of the numbers of secondary and primary schools which have yet to meet such ratios and the reasons for that; whether the authorities will urge the schools concerned to achieve such ratios as far as practicable; and

(c) whether the authorities will further increase as soon as possible the ratios of graduate teacher posts within the teaching establishment in public sector secondary and primary schools, thus enabling all teachers with degree qualifications to hold graduate teacher posts, so that teachers with degree qualifications will have equal pay for equal work; if they will, of their plans and timetable; if not, how the authorities address the problem of unfair treatment of many teachers with degree qualifications in secondary and primary schools who have been holding non-graduate teacher posts for a long time but have to take up the work of graduate teachers?



(a) According to the survey of the 2010/11 school year, among the teachers appointed within the teaching staff establishment, about 3 600 and 8 400 teachers in ordinary public sector secondary and primary schools respectively possessed degree qualifications but held non-graduate teacher posts.  

(b) As pledged in the 2007 Policy Address, the Education Bureau (EDB) has increased the ratios of graduate teacher posts within the teaching staff establishment in all public sector secondary and primary schools to 85% and 50% respectively in the 2009/10 school year.

     According to the statistics of EDB, the overall numbers of graduate teachers have not yet reached 85% and 50%.  In the 2010/11 school year, the overall percentages of graduate teacher posts in ordinary public sector secondary and primary schools being filled were 94% and 79% respectively.

     As regards the actual utilisation rates of graduate teacher posts in individual aided schools, in the 2011/12 school year, our preliminary data indicates that about 97% of the secondary schools and 45% of the primary schools have a utilisation rate of 80% or more.  

     We note that slightly less than half of the primary schools have filled up 80% or more of their graduate teacher posts.  In other words, a relatively large number of primary schools have not fully utilised their graduate teacher posts, and the numbers of unused posts are relatively large.  The main reasons cited by primary schools for not utilising all of their graduate teacher posts include some serving teachers yet to obtain degree qualifications or still pursuing a degree course; the schools having a general need to observe the performance of the teachers for a longer period of time to identify suitable teachers in the non-graduate grade for regrading; and some teachers choosing to stay in the non-graduate grade, etc.

     The overall fill-up rate of the graduate teacher posts in secondary schools approximates to the graduate teacher ratio in the approved teaching staff establishment.  Only a small proportion of schools have not yet fully utilised the graduate teacher posts.  

     All along, we provide schools with autonomy and flexibility in the appointment and personnel management of teaching staff so that they can appoint suitable teachers for providing quality education services, having regard to their own operational needs.  That said, we are concerned about the utilisation of graduate teacher posts in individual schools.  Through day-to-day contacts with the school sponsoring bodies and school administrators, our colleagues have been reminding them to make use of all their graduate teacher posts as far as possible for regrading qualified non-graduate teachers so as to raise the status and morale of teachers.

     With a view to further improving the appointment and utilisation of graduate teacher posts, we will request individual School Management Committees/Incorporated Management Committees to discuss and seriously consider if it is necessary to continue to retain the unused graduate teacher posts if they still have degree-holding teachers filling the non-graduate teacher posts.  We will also require the schools to provide EDB with explanations and their plan to fill the graduate teacher posts by teachers with degree qualifications where necessary.

(c) As regards the work and pay of graduate and non-graduate teachers, we consider that they belong to two different grades, with different responsibilities and salary scales.  Apart from having to teach senior classes as a general practice, graduate teachers are required to take the leading role in implementing various new education initiatives.  The responsibilities of the teaching staff of various grades and ranks have been set out in the Codes of Aid, and schools are required to assign duties to their teaching staff according to their grades and ranks.

     All in all, it is the Government's long-term target to have an all graduate teaching force.  The Government will continue to keep in view all relevant factors, including the financial commitment, prioritization of resources deployment, data on serving teachers obtaining degree qualifications and schoolsˇ¦ progress in filling graduate teacher posts, etc., and review the ratios of graduate teacher posts in due course.

Ends/Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Issued at HKT 13:22


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