Degree-holding teachers preferred for coming school year

Local | Sophie Hui 27 Mar 2019

The all-graduate teaching force policy will kick off at public schools starting from the 2019/20 school year, according to a circular sent by the Education Bureau to all aided schools yesterday.

The policy was announced in Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's policy address last October and the new measure will approximately cost an additional HK$1.5 billion annually.

Currently, the ratio of graduate teacher posts in public sector primary and secondary schools are 65 and 85 percent respectively.

Some teachers with bachelor degrees are forced to take certificate teacher positions, meaning they have the same qualifications and job requirements as their peers, but earn less.

Implementing the new measure would mean that all teaching positions at primary and secondary schools will be graduate teacher posts.

The bureau said schools should establish a school-based mechanism to allow all degree-holding teachers to take up graduate teacher positions.

It also said that teachers who join from next school year onwards should have a bachelor's degree.

Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said that the government is "committed to providing support to teachers and raising their professional status.

"Through the implementation of the all-graduate teaching force policy, we not only recognize the contributions of those teachers with a bachelor's degree, but also hope to facilitate teachers' professional development and raise their professional roles and functions to further improve the quality of education."

Meanwhile, the Task Force on Professional Development of Teachers, established by the bureau in 2017, proposed 18 recommendations after reviewing the current state of play regarding teachers' professional development.

The suggestions included giving a pay rise to primary school principals, meaning that the maximum salary for a school headmaster will increase 29 percent to over HK$120,000.

The task force also recommended improving manpower at the middle management level in primary and secondary schools.

For instance, in primary schools with 24 classes or more, there should be three vice-principals instead of two.

Education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen welcomed the task force's suggestions, saying it is necessary to increase the number of middle management level positions under the all-graduate teaching force policy.

sophie.hui@singtaonewscorp.com

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