Class sizes to be cut down to size from 2022

Local | Cindy Wan 29 Oct 2018

Class size will be reduced from 25 to 23 students with a projected decrease of primary one students from 2022, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said yesterday.

The Education Bureau may allow schools to retain any surplus teachers resulting from this decrease.

According to the 2018 Policy Address, the government plans to earmark HK$1.5 billion a year to change all secondary and primary teacher posts into graduate posts, meaning in future, all teachers will be required to hold a university degree.

Secondary schools are expected to introduce this in a year's time, while primary schools will have three years to replace all their certificated master teachers.

Yeung said the Education Bureau had decided to launch the measure in secondary schools in the 2019/20 school year after consulting the education industry.

And if some secondary schools failed to replace all certificated master teachers with graduate teachers, the bureau would give them one more year as a buffer, he said.

According to the Professional Teachers' Union, 99 percent of secondary teachers and 97 percent of primary teachers hold degrees. Currently, there are 16,000 people employed as certificated master teachers, among them 11,000 primary teachers and 4,000 secondary teachers who are degree holders, but were hired as certificated teachers when they were recruited.

Yeung said a task force on Professional Development of Teachers will discuss the details of how to launch the new measure and solve the problem of shortages in middle management.

The minister's remarks came after the Professional Teachers' Union's press conference yesterday, during which the teachers expressed concerns over the shortage of middle management in primary schools.

Union president Fung Wai-wah said the number of management personnel in primary and secondary schools was great.

According to the bureau's "Code of Aids," secondary schools can set up five management posts, including vice principals and a teacher director for every 12 teachers.

And in primary school, there is just one management post for every three classes.

In other words, a secondary school of 24 classes usually has 18 management teachers according to the teacher ratio, while a primary school of the same number of classes will have eight management posts.

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