LCQ16: Provision of grants for kindergartens admitting non-Chinese speaking students
The Chief Executive has indicated in this year's Policy Address that the Government will implement a free quality kindergarten (KG) education policy from the 2017/18 school year to improve the quality of KG education in various aspects. The relevant measures include providing an additional grant comparable to the recommended salary of one KG teacher (about $25,000 per month) for KGs admitting eight or more non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students, so that "KGs can provide teachers with more manpower support and professional training to develop effective strategies to help NCS students learn through the Chinese medium so as to lay a foundation for their study in local primary schools". In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the procedures and timetable for application for the aforesaid additional grant by KGs; whether it is for KGs to decide whether or not to submit such applications;
(2) how the Education Bureau (EDB) assesses whether each KG provided with the additional grant has made good use of the grant, so as to ensure that the objective of effectively improving the pre-primary education for NCS students has been achieved;
(3) of the channels through which members of the public can know (i) whether various KGs have been provided with additional grants, (ii) how KGs provided with additional grants make use of the grants, and (iii) the effectiveness of the measure to provide additional grants; and
(4) given that KGs are required under the current Quality Assurance Framework to undergo Quality Review (QR), whether the EDB has plans to provide an English version of QR Reports of various KGs for parents of NCS students to peruse the relevant QR results, with a view to achieving the purposes of "promoting sustainable school development and accountability to parents and the community"?
My reply to the Dr Hon Fernando Cheung’s question is as follows:
(1) Under the free quality kindergarten (KG) education policy to be implemented from the 2017/18 school year, a grant comparable to the salary of one KG teacher will be provided for KGs admitting eight or more non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students to help KGs enhance the support for these students. We are devising the implementation details of the new policy including, among others, the application procedures and ambit/usage of various grants (including the afore-mentioned grant for support to NCS students). In this regard, we have been collecting views of stakeholders with a view to developing user-friendly application procedures (such as provision of templates) so as to minimise the administrative work of KGs. Implementation details will be released in the third quarter of 2016. Administrative guidelines on usage of individual grants will also be issued in due course. We expect that all eligible KGs will apply for the grant concerned. In any event, we will require all eligible KGs to ensure appropriate support for NCS students and will request KGs to provide the information concerned as appropriate.
(2) and (4) Under the Quality Assurance Framework, KGs are required to conduct school self-evaluation based on the Performance Indicators (Pre-primary Institutions) for reviewing their overall performance, identifying areas for improvement, devising development plans and compiling School Reports for continuous enhancement of the quality of education. To facilitate sustainable development of KGs, review teams of the Education Bureau (EDB) conduct on-site quality review (QR) for KGs on a regular basis to validate findings from their school self-evaluation and identify their strengths and areas for development. To strengthen the accountability to parents and the community, the QR Reports are uploaded onto the EDB website. We are also studying the feasibility of reporting QR findings in English. In any event, while QR Reports may serve as one of the references for parents when choosing KGs for their children, the Profile of Kindergartens and Kindergarten-cum-Child Care Centres (KG Profile) also provides information on each KG. Starting from the 2016/17 school year, the EDB will publish the KG Profile in Chinese and English to cater for the needs of local and NCS parents.
Under the free quality KG education policy, the existing quality assurance framework will be enhanced. We will invite an external independent member to serve as an external observer in each QR team. We will also refine the afore-mentioned Performance Indicators to enhance the quality of KG education including, among others, catering for the diverse needs of students (including NCS students). Besides, we will encourage more researches to keep the sector well-informed of the latest trends in child development, children’s learning needs and the development of KG education. The impact of the new policy on the quality of KG education (including the support for NCS students) will also be studied.
(3) To enhance transparency and facilitate home-school co-operation, the EDB encourages KGs to make use of various channels such as school websites and the KG Profile to keep parents and members of the public informed of their operation, development and support services for students. As regards additional resources allocated to schools on a need basis, including the additional grant for NCS students, it is our established practice not to disclose the names and situation of individual schools to avoid unnecessary misconception and possible labelling on individual schools.
As regards the effectiveness of various measures implemented by KGs, including support measures for NCS students, as mentioned above, KGs and the EDB will keep continuous review through the Quality Assurance Framework.
Ends/Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:02
Issued at HKT 16:02