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LCQ1: Use of additional funds for education purposes
     Following is a question by Hon Cheung Kwok-kwan and a reply by the Acting Secretary for Education, Mr Kevin Yeung, in the Legislative Council today (June 14):


     The Financial Secretary said on April 26 this year that due to the higher-than-expected revenues from land sales and stamp duties as well as the lower-than-expected capital expenditure, the consolidated surplus for the 2016-2017 financial year would increase by $18 billion from the revised estimate of $92.8 billion to $110.8 billion. FS decided to earmark the additional $18 billion for education purposes, including the strengthening of the academic and scientific research development in the higher education sector. Specific allocations and details will be followed up by the Education Bureau (EDB) according to the established procedure. On the other hand, the Chief Executive-elect (CE-elect) has undertaken in her election manifesto to immediately increase recurrent expenditure on education by $5 billion each year after being elected to the office. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council :

(1) whether the EDB has drawn up an allocation plan for the earmarked funds of $18 billion; if so, of the respective funds to be allocated to the five major education fields, namely early childhood, primary, secondary, tertiary and special education, as well as the specific uses of the funds; if not, when the EDB will draw up such an allocation plan; 

(2) whether the EDB has consulted the various education groups and other stakeholders on the allocation of the earmarked funds of $18 billion; if so, of the views collected and whether such views will be made public; if not, whether the EDB will conduct such consultations and when it plans to do so; and

(3) whether the current-term Government has communicated and coordinated with the CE-elect and the personnel of her office to ensure the proper use of the aforesaid $5 billion annual recurrent expenditure on education and the earmarked funds of $18 billion; if so, of the details; if not, whether it will conduct such communication and coordination?



     The Government attaches great importance to education and allocates resources continuously to provide all-round and balanced education and training to young people for the sustainable development of Hong Kong. Since the inauguration of the current-term Government, the recurrent education expenditure has increased by 30 per cent from $60.4 billion in 2012-13 to $78.6 billion in 2017-18, with the amount taking up the largest share among all policy areas. During the tenure of the current-term Government, the share of recurrent education expenditure in total education expenditure has also increased from less than 80 per cent in 2012-13 to 90 per cent on average, demonstrating the Government's commitment to education.

     Upon resumption of the Second Reading debate on the Appropriation Bill 2017, the Financial Secretary announced that the additional surplus of $18 billion of 2016-17 will be earmarked for education purposes to meet various needs in the education sector, including additional resources for academic and scientific research development in the higher education sector. The Education Bureau (EDB) is devising an allocation plan for consideration and decision by the next-term Government at the earliest instance upon its taking office.

     Regarding the additional recurrent education expenditure of $5 billion set out in the Manifesto of the Chief Executive-elect, with the agreement of the incumbent Chief Executive, the Chief Executive-elect and the EDB are formulating specific measures in the light of the proposals put forward by the education sector, including the priority measures to be implemented in the 2017/18 school year. Meanwhile, the Chief Executive-elect has met with the stakeholders of the education sector to gauge their views. Upon taking office, the next-term Government will announce the specific measures on the use of the additional recurrent expenditure and seek the funding approval of the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council.

     The EDB will continue to maintain close contact and communication with education groups and stakeholders to seek their views on ways to improve the work of education.
Ends/Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:45
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