LegCo Paper No. CB(1)1913/95-96
(These minutes have been seen by the Administration)
Ref : CB1/PL/ED/1

LegCo Panel on Education

Minutes of Special Meeting
held on 18 June 1996 at 2:30 p.m.
in Conference Room B of the Legislative Council Building

Members Present :

    Dr Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung (Chairman)
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon SZETO Wah
    Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
    Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
    Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
    Hon IP Kwok-him

Members Absent :

    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling

Public Offices Attedning :

Mr Joshua LAW, JP
Deputy Secretary for Education and Manpower
Mrs Agnes Allcock
Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower
Assistant Director of Education (Planning & Research)

Attendance by Invitation :

Education Commission
Professor Rosie YOUNG
Professor K M CHENG

Staff in Attendance :

    Miss Polly YEUNG, CAS(1)3
    Ms Connie SZE-TO, SAS(1)5

Briefing on the Education Commission Report No. 7

(LegCo Brief Ref : EMBCR 20/2041/84 Part XI, LegCo Paper No. CB(1)1611/95-96)

Upon invitation by the Chairman, Professor Rosie YOUNG and Professor K M CHEUNG explained that the purpose of the consultation pamphlet was to invite public comments on the broad issues concerning quality school education, the results of which would form the basis of a consultation document on Education Commission Report No. 7 (ECR 7) to be released for extensive consultation by the end of August 1996. They highlighted the following salient points in the consultation pamphlet :

  1. The EC considered that the present quality of school education was at risk and recognised the importance of building a quality culture in the school system. Public views were invited on how goals and targets for individual schools should be set and the ways for achieving them in a cost-effective manner.
  2. The EC noticed that there was little flexibility for schools to deploy resources and that the present funding arrangements did not relate the level of funding to school performance. Comments were invited on how to provide schools with greater flexibility in deployment of resources, the ways by which school funding could be equitably related to performance and how to establish objective indicators to measure school performance.
  3. The EC was also aware of a general lack of incentives for schools to take initiatives and accept responsibility for the achievement of quality education. Public views were sought on whether the roles of key players in the school system and the relationships between them should be redefined to make them more accountable for their performance.

Members expressed the following views on the subject :

  1. It was imperative that the issues under study should be defined clearly. The objective should be enhancement of the quality of general education instead of promoting elite education. The principle of equal opportunity for access to school education must be upheld.
  2. On the feasibility of relating school funding to performance, care must be taken to ensure that resources were provided to support incentives/plans initiated by schools for enhancement of quality rather than merely as rewards to schools with good performance.
  3. Value-added efforts made by schools to best develop the potential of their students must be recognised. Hence, apart from the end result, due consideration should also be given to the process through which schools achieved enhancement.
  4. School performance should not be measured solely by students’ academic results but by a variety of objective criteria. It was inappropriate to apply a universal assessment formula on all schools. Different sets of indicators should be devised for different groupings of schools to induce favourable competition among them.
  5. While greater flexibility should be provided to schools in the deployment of resources, funding for basic provision, such as teachers’ salaries should be maintained.
  6. It was also advisable to consider appropriate measures to put sanction on under-performing schools.

3. While noting members’ views which would be taken into consideration, Professor YEUNG and Professor CHENG made the following points in response:

  1. Flexible funding approach was commonly found in school systems of advanced countries. It allowed schools the freedom in deploying their resources according to their own needs and targets and was successful in enhancing the quality of education.
  2. The School Management Initiative (SMI) scheme introduced in 1991 had been successful in providing over 200 participating schools with flexibility in using non-salaries resources.
  3. It was advocated that schools should be required to produce their development plans to be made known to parents and the public. This would result in more transparency in school management and help schools to identify their targets.
  4. The EC noted that the question of “school performance” was highly controversial and that it should not be measured solely on the academic results of students. School performance should include a variety of elements such as students’ confidence, their participation in extra curricular activities and the value-added efforts made by schools.

4. Mrs Agnes Allcock added that it might also be necessary to re-define the roles of key players in the school system. In view of the vast amount of resources invested in education, key players including the Education Department, school sponsoring bodies, School Management Committees, principals and teachers should be made more accountable for their performance.

5. As regards the financial implications of ECR 7, members pointed out that as existing resources on education had been earmarked for various programmes, implementation of the proposals to enhance the quality of school education should be met by additional resources and not at the expense of these programmes.

6. Summing up, the Chairman remarked that while members generally supported the proposal to move in the direction of “quality school education”, due care must be exercised in devising the necessary means to achieve the target. He also requested the Administration and the EC to take note of members’ views and concerns.

7. The meeting ended at 3:45 p.m.

LegCo Secretariat
25 July 1996

Last Updated on 14 Aug, 1998