Education for New Arrival Children
The Education Department has been providing dedicated services for new arrival children (NAC) from various parts of Mainland since 1995. Such services are reviewed from time to time and new services are introduced in response to changes in circumstances. The current and new services are summarised in paragraphs 2 to 15. In view of a possible increase in the number of eligible children arriving Hong Kong in the near future, we are making preparations to provide additional school places and support services when necessary.
2.Upon request, District Education Officers will help NAC find school places in the district where they live, or in another district if there is no vacancy; and monitor cases until placement is firm. The Education Department (ED) has issued a revised circular to urge schools to give favourable consideration to applications from NAC for school places.
3.Since April 1996, information leaflets with a pre-paid self-addressed reply slip have been distributed at Lo Wu immigration checkpoints, District Education Offices and District Offices to enable new arrivals to seek assistance for their children's education. A Central Placement Unit was set up in February 1996 to follow up such requests and, where necessary, handle difficult placement cases referred by District Education Offices.
Induction and English Extension Programmes
4.Since April 1995, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been operating a 60-hour Induction Programme for NAC aged 6 to 15. The Programme covers both social adjustment and education aspects including Chinese and English languages learning and homework guidance. So far, about 14,600 NAC have participated.
5.Since October 1995, a 60-hour English Extension Programme has been provided by NGOs for NAC aged 9 to 15 who have completed the Induction Programme to improve their standard of English. Up to June 1997, about 8,500 NAC have attended.
6.ED has issued to all schools and NGOs running the Induction/English Extension Programmes curriculum guidelines on the subjects of Chinese Language, English Language and Mathematics, and a teacher's handbook entitled 'English Language for Children Arriving in Hong Kong from Various Parts of China'. These guides provide teachers and tutors with a framework of teaching contents and strategies when teaching the subjects to NAC.
English language self-learning package
7.ED has developed an English language self-learning package for Primary 1 to Primary 3 levels to assist NAC in learning the English language. Copies of the self-learning package were distributed to all primary schools and NGOs offering Induction and/or English Extension Programmes for NAC in May 1997.
Languages and Mathematics tests
8.ED has constructed tests on the Chinese Language, English Language and Mathematics to assist schools in assessing the standard of NAC for admission to Primary 1 to Secondary 3 levels. The tests for primary levels were distributed to schools in June 1997 and those for Secondary 1 to 3 levels will be available at the beginning of the 1997/98 school year. The Department will develop similar tests at Secondary 4 level later.
Education for NAC over the age of 15
9.NAC over the age of 15 who have attained academic standards comparable to local Secondary 3 leavers may apply to schools direct for a Secondary 4 place or they may also approach District Education Offices for information on schools and placement assistance. These NAC can also enrol in craft courses run by the technical institutes of the Vocational Training Council or adult education courses run by ED and NGOs. Since September 1996, we have lowered the admission age for adult education courses from 18 to 15 to provide an additional channel for NAC aged between 15 to 18 to receive education.
10.The Hong Kong Examinations Authority (HKEA) has announced that with effect from 1998, NAC who have not reached the age of 19 by 1 January in the year of the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) may apply to HKEA to sit the examination as private candidates, provided they have attained the standard of senior secondary 2 in the Mainland. NAC who have reached the age of 19 by 1 January in the year of HKCEE have always been allowed to sit the examination as private candidates.
Remedial services in schools
11.NAC with special education needs can use a wide range of support and remedial services in schools, including educational and personal guidance services and remedial teaching in Chinese, English and Mathematics.
12.For NAC who have more severe learning or adjustment difficulties, ED provides a spectrum of intensive remedial services as well as other assessment and supportive services.
School-based Support Programme
13.A School-Based Support Programme will be introduced in the 1997/98 school year. A block grant will be given to public sector schools which take NAC, at the rate of $2,000 per NAC at primary level and $3,330 at secondary level. Schools can use this block grant to provide school-based services for NAC such as organising tutorial classes or extra-curricular activities, developing special teaching material and acquiring specific resource material.
14.Schools will be informed of details of the scheme at the end of August 1997. ED will monitor the implementation of the scheme through school visits and auditing the schools' accounts.
Short-term full-time courses
15.The aim of these courses is to help NAC improve their academic standard and learning skills in preparation for regular school studies in a school setting and on a short-term full-time basis. ED has identified five primary and two secondary schools at convenient locations which have vacant classrooms to operate short-term full-time courses on a pilot basis in the 1997/98 school year.
Measures to meet additional demand for education services
16.If the revised total number of eligible children, i.e. 66,000 are to arrive Hong Kong within two years, there will be impact on the education system. We will take the following steps to prepare for this possibility -
- Central Co-ordinating Unit
ED will set up a central co-ordinating unit to oversee the provision of school places and support services.
- Provision of school places
If a large number of NAC arrive Hong Kong, they will first be absorbed by existing vacancies. We will also operate additional classes in existing and new schools. In the longer term, ED plans to build at least 16 more schools by 2001 to cater for the cumulative demand.
- Placement assistance
ED will set up extra teams of staff in District Education Offices to handle placement of a large number of NAC. The Central Placement Unit will also be strengthened.
- Demand for teachers
Where it is necessary to recruit teachers for the additional classes, ED will extend the service period of the Teacher Recruitment Information Service to bring back into active service teachers in retirement or teachers now working in other fields. ED is also liaising with the Hong Kong Institute of Education and other teacher education institutions with regard to both pre-service and in-service teacher training.
- Additional funding for other support services
Where necessary, the Government will set aside more funding to run additional Induction /English Extension Programmes, to provide school-based support services, to provide financial assistance to NAC etc.
17.ED has been publicising the educational services for NAC through press releases from time to time, regular radio announcements in both Cantonese and Putonghua and school circulars.