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LCQ7: Installation of air-conditioning systems for schools

     Following is a question by the Hon Ip Kin-yuen and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Education, Mr Kevin Yeung, in the Legislative Council today (October 14):


     Under the existing policy, the Government will install double-glazed windows and air-conditioning systems for aided schools affected by traffic noise, such that the noise levels in classrooms are reduced to 60 dB(A) or below. If schools decide to have air-conditioning systems installed in their classrooms and halls on grounds such as preventing mosquitoes and pests, lowering indoor temperature and improving air quality, etc., they have to raise funds on their own from parents or other persons for meeting the capital and recurrent expenditure so incurred. Some members of the education sector have pointed out that as students of special schools will have more physical and emotional problems in a sweltering environment, there is a pressing need for such schools to be installed with air-conditioning systems in their classrooms and halls. However, owing to the small numbers of students in such schools, it is often difficult for such schools to raise sufficient funds to meet the relevant expenses. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it has compiled statistics on the respective numbers of aided schools which at present do not have air-conditioning systems installed in (i) all their classrooms and (ii) their halls, with a breakdown by primary and secondary schools; if it has not, whether it will compile such statistics;

(2) of the grounds, other than traffic noise, based on which the Government will install air-conditioning systems for existing schools; and

(3) whether, in order to improve the teaching environment of schools, it will review the existing policy on installation of air-conditioning systems for schools; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     My reply to Hon Ip's question about installation of air-conditioning systems for aided schools in Hong Kong is as follows:

     Air-conditioning systems are not considered as standard teaching facilities under the prevailing policy. The Government will normally install insulated windows and air-conditioning systems for classrooms and special rooms exposed to traffic noise or fixed noise source as noise mitigation measures in accordance with the noise standards stipulated in the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines. Some special rooms, such as computer-assisted learning rooms, language rooms and libraries, are fitted with air-conditioning systems because the equipment or devices contained therein and the function of such rooms require so.

     Generally speaking, the above policy on provision of air-conditioning to aided ordinary schools is also applicable to aided special schools. In view of the special needs of the students in special schools for children with physical disability and severe intellectual disability, where many of them are wheel-chair bound and need strapping around their bodies for proper positioning, while some have to wear gaiters and flexion mitts during lessons, air-conditioning is provided to the classrooms, special rooms and student activity centres of all such schools irrespective of the noise level to alleviate students' physical discomfort caused by the fittings. All 17 special schools for children with physical disability and severe intellectual disability have been benefitted.

     Under the principle of proper use of public resources, we must consider carefully the implications of providing air-conditioning in classrooms or special rooms of aided schools across the board, which not only involves a huge amount of resources but also goes against environmental-protection principles. We will continue to review the existing policy from time to time and, where resources permit, assist schools in upgrading their facilities to provide a better learning environment for students.

Ends/Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Issued at HKT 13:24


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