on 18 September 1998
ITEM FOR FINANCE COMMITTEE
HEAD 40 - EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
Subhead 700 General other non-recurrent
New item "One-off grant to aided secondary schools and special schools for
installation of air-conditioners in the preparation rooms of laboratories"
Members are invited to approve the creation of a new commitment of $23,100,000 for providing a one-off grant to aided secondary schools and special schools for installing air-conditioners in the preparation rooms of laboratories.
The preparation rooms of school laboratories need to be air-conditioned to facilitate the preparation for some experiments and to generally improve the work environment for laboratory technicians.
2.The Director of Education (D of E), with the support of the Secretary for Education and Manpower, proposes to create a new commitment of $23,100,000 for providing a one-off grant to all aided secondary schools and special schools with secondary section and with laboratories for the installation of air-conditioners in the preparation rooms of their laboratories in the 1998/99 school year. Schools receiving the grant will purchase and install air-conditioners on their own.
3.Air-conditioners are a standard provision in staff rooms and general offices of government, aided and special schools. However, the preparation rooms
of laboratories, which are the workplace of laboratory technicians, are not provided with air-conditioners.
4.Laboratory technicians support and assist teachers in demonstrations and experiments. They manage the laboratories and prepare laboratory apparatus and chemicals for teaching purposes. Over the years, they have been urging for an air-conditioned work environment on par with other school personnel. Air-conditioning also facilitates the preparation for some special experiments which have to be conducted in an environment free of air disturbance caused by ceiling fan.
5.We propose to provide aided secondary schools and special schools which have a secondary section equipped with laboratories with a one-off grant to enable them to purchase and install air-conditioners in the preparation rooms on their own. D of E will issue guidelines to schools for such procurement and installation. She will also inform schools of the safety measures to be observed in air-conditioned preparation rooms.
6.The proposal involves the installation of air-conditioners in 854 preparation rooms of 357 aided secondary schools and special schools. We estimate that the proposal will cost $23,100,000, made up as follows -
|Grant per preparation room||$27,000
|Total number of preparation rooms||854
|Estimated total expenditure||$23,058,000
7.The grant is to meet the costs of supply and installation of window-type air-conditioners and ventilation fans, electric wiring, builders' work and contingency expenditure. Schools will be reimbursed for such costs on an actual basis up to $27,000 per preparation room. D of E will have discretion in raising the grant for individual schools having regard to their special circumstances.
8.D of E estimates that the annually additional recurrent expenditure on maintenance and electricity charges of the air-conditioners is about $3,245,000, made up as follows -
|Annual maintenance and electricity charges per preparation room
|Total number of preparation rooms||854
|Estimated total annual expenditure||$3,245,200
9.The annual expenditure of $3,800 per preparation room comprises $1,000 for maintenance and $2,800 for electricity charges. Maintenance cost is not required during the one-year warranty period.
10.D of E proposes to provide the schools concerned with a recurrent subsidy under the School and Class Grant to cover the recurrent expenditure arising from the installation of air-conditioners in the preparation rooms. Sufficient provision has been included in the 1998-99 Estimates to meet this expenditure.
11.Alongside this proposal for aided secondary schools and special schools, D of E is arranging with the Architectural Services Department, which is in charge of building works and maintenance of government buildings, to install air-conditioners in the preparation rooms of Government secondary schools.
Education and Manpower Bureau