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EDB to provide sixth round of one-off relief grant to affected sectors
     The Education Bureau (EDB) issued letters/circular memoranda today (February 17) to inform schools and related organisations of the details about the provision of relief grants and subsidies related to the areas of education under the sixth round of the Anti-epidemic Fund (AEF). The total expenditure is about $667 million.
     A spokesman for the EDB said that the passage of the funding application for the sixth round of the AEF by the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council (LegCo) on Tuesday (February 15) further assists the sectors affected by the anti-epidemic measures. Disbursement of relief grants to the industry under the fifth round of the AEF measures is in progress.

     To alleviate the financial hardship arising from the suspension of face-to-face classes/conducting of half-day schooling in light of the worsening situation of the COVID-19 epidemic, the EDB will again provide all kindergartens (KGs) and private primary and secondary day schools as well as private schools offering non-formal curriculum (PSNFCs) (generally referred to as "tutorial schools") with a one-off grant under the sixth round of the AEF.
     The grant, ranging from $60,000 to $160,000, will be provided to each KG and private day school. The additional expenditure is estimated to be $135 million, benefitting about 1 000 KGs and 180 private day schools. Details are as follows:
  • Schools joining the kindergarten education scheme (Scheme-KGs) will receive a grant ranging from $60,000 to $160,000, depending on their types (i.e. half-day, whole-day and long whole-day) and sizes;
  • For non-Scheme KGs, each KG will receive a grant of $80,000; and
  • Private day schools (including schools under the English Schools Foundation, international schools, Private Independent Schools and other private primary and secondary day schools offering a formal curriculum) will each receive a grant of $80,000.

     Regarding PSNFCs and designated centres under the Financial Assistance Scheme for Designated Evening Adult Education Courses, a one-off relief grant of $40,000 will be given to each PSNFC and designated centre which has been registered under the Education Ordinance and is in operation on the issuance date of the circular memorandum. The additional expenditure is estimated to be $108 million, benefitting some 2 700 PSNFCs and designated centres.

     Furthermore, one-off relief grants under the AEF will be provided to the following service suppliers or service providers as their businesses and incomes have been affected by restrictions on face-to-face classes and on-campus school activities. The additional expenditure is estimated to be $423.8 million. Details are as follows:
  • Operators of catering outlets (namely tuck shops, canteens and restaurants) at primary schools, secondary schools and post-secondary education institutions: a one-off relief grant of $80,000 to each outlet;
  • Lunchbox suppliers of primary and secondary day schools: a one-off relief grant of $10,000 per school each supplier is serving; 
  • School bus drivers, school private light bus drivers and escorts (commonly called "nannies"): a one-off relief grant of $10,000 for each driver and $10,000 per vehicle for nannies (the subsidy of $10,000 will be shared among nannies based on their proportion of service time if more than one nanny serve in the same vehicle); and 
  • Instructors, coaches, trainers and operators of interest classes engaged by primary and secondary schools: a one-off relief grant of $10,000 to each operator/service provider.

     The EDB has uploaded the letters/circular memoranda to the EDB website (www.edb.gov.hk/en/sch-admin/admin/about-sch/diseases-prevention/special_anti-epidemic_subsidy.html) or issued them to the relevant post-secondary education institutions, detailing the application and disbursement arrangements for the relevant grants.

     In addition to the above-mentioned one-off relief grant, the LegCo Finance Committee has also approved extending the interest-free deferral of loan repayment for two years to the self-financing post-secondary institutions under the Start-up Loan Scheme, non-profit-making international schools and student loan repayers to ease their potential cash flow concerns during the epidemic. The arrangement will benefit 13 course providers of full-time locally accredited self-financing post-secondary programmes with outstanding loans; seven non-profit-making international schools with loans approved by the LegCo Finance Committee; and student loan repayers of the means-tested and non-means-tested student financial assistance schemes for tertiary students. The EDB and the Working Family and Student Financial Assistance Agency will follow up with the relevant institutions/schools and eligible student loan repayers as soon as possible for the implementation of the relevant arrangements.
Ends/Thursday, February 17, 2022
Issued at HKT 19:50
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