Information Paper

Policy on integrated education and the
outcome of the two-year pilot project


This paper outlines the policy and resources for integrating children with special needs in ordinary schools, and provides a summary of the findings of the evaluation report on the two-year pilot project on integration of children with special needs in ordinary schools (pilot project).

Policy on integration

2. Since the 1970's, our education policy aims at helping children with special educational needs integrate into mainstream schools as far as possible, so that they can receive an appropriate education alongside their peers.

Resources for pupils with disabilities in ordinary schools

3. In the 1998/99 school year, other than the 49 pupils in the pilot project, there are 1 184 pupils with a disability (including 234 pupils with mild mental handicap, 641 pupils with hearing impairment, 91 pupils with visual impairment, 152 pupils with physical handicap and 66 pupils with autism) attending ordinary schools with special education support. Details of the support services and resources are provided in Appendix 1. The two-year pilot project on integration of children with special needs in ordinary schools

4. In order to formulate a long-term strategy on integration, the Education Department (ED) launched a two-year pilot project in seven primary and two secondary schools in September 1997.

5. The pilot project promotes a whole-school approach to integration which aims at creating an inclusive school culture. School heads are encouraged to mobilize the whole school in accommodating children with special needs by formulating a whole-school policy on integration. Individualized educational planning for the pupils is carried out through regular meetings of the school head or his/her representative, the ordinary teachers, the resource teacher, the parents and the pupils. The pilot project emphasizes the collaboration of teachers, school-home co-operation, curriculum adaptation, modification of teaching strategies and assessment methods, and peer support, in order to establish an accommodating school environment. Assistive technology such as the provision of tele-loop system to facilitate listening is provided to support classroom activities. Details of the pilot project are at Appendix 2.

Evaluation of the Pilot Project

6. The Hong Kong Institute of Education was commissioned by ED to evaluate the pilot project. The Institute submitted a report in early June 1999. The following is a summary of the findings :

  1. There is a strong correlation between the leadership of school heads and the capability of schools in responding to the challenges of integration.

  2. On the whole, nearly all the integrators made academic and social progress throughout the two years. Most parents of the integrators were satisfied with this progress.

  3. There was overwhelming support for integration of disabled pupils by the parents.

  4. Most parents were satisfied with the frequencies and outcomes of the school contact.

  5. While most teachers saw themselves gaining more confidence in mastering new instructional strategies, quite a number of them were unsure about their skills in co-operative teaching and meeting individual needs.

  6. Schools which integrated students with disabilities most effectively had friendly and supportive atmosphere, and were charactierised by effective leadership, good staff/parent mechanisms for consultation, clearly understood policies for integration, clear understandings by staff of their roles, regular discussion meetings for staff, flexible approaches to curriculum, effective whole-school approaches, and co-operative learning and teaching.

7. Based on the above findings, the evaluation report has made various recommendations regarding teachers' preparations, the development of school-based integration programme and parents' participation. These recommendations will be considered by Government in the formulation of the long-term strategy for integration. Meanwhile, ED plans to increase the number of schools adopting the whole-school approach to integration to 20 in the 1999/2000 school year, and further to 40 in the 2000/2001 school year.

Education and Manpower Bureau
Government Secretariat
June 1999

Appendix 1

Services for Pupils with Disabilities in Ordinary Schools

1. Support Services for Pupils with Hearing Impairment

    1.1 Special Classes for hearing-impaired pupils

Severely and profoundly hearing-impaired pupils who have acquired some basic language and communication skills but still have serious difficulties following the regular curriculum attend special classes with a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:10. They attend academic subject lessons, speech and auditory training in a separate class with special education teachers but mix with their hearing peers in all other cultural subjects and social activities.

1.2 Peripatetic Advisory Service

Pupils with moderate to profound hearing impairment and who have acquired sufficient language skills are integrated in the ordinary classes. Inspectors (1:100 pupils) from the Education Department visit schools to advise teachers and social workers on how to support these pupils.

1.3 Supportive Remedial Service

Pupils who are served by the Peripatetic Advisory Service but are grossly backward (by two years or more) in their academic attainment are also given Supportive Remedial Service provided by special schools for the deaf. Additional teachers for this service are provided at the ratio of 1:20 for primary school pupils and 1: 10 for secondary school pupils.

1.4 Professional advice

Audiologists of the Education Department also provide advice to pupils, teachers and parents on the use of hearing aids, ear moulds, special seating arrangements in the ordinary classroom and make recommendations on appropriate educational placement.
2. Support Services for Pupils with Visual Impairment

    2.1 Special classes for visually-impaired pupils

Pupils are provided with special equipment to facilitate their learning, e.g. closed circuit television, magnifiers and special lights. They attend academic subject lessons in a special class with a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:15 and integrate with their sighted peers for other cultural subjects and social activities.

2.2 Programme for blind integrators

Visually-impaired pupils in ordinary schools are supported by a visiting resource teacher from a special school for the visually- impaired. The teacher-pupil ratio is 1:8. The resource teachers advise ordinary teachers on teaching strategies, and help to prepare supplementary teaching materials such as Braille books and notes, Braille test/ examination papers, and recorded tapes etc. They also pay weekly/ bi-weekly school visits to advise the pupils on the use of technical aids.

2.3 Centralized Braille Production Centre

Visually-impaired pupils can use the Braille reading materials produced by the Centralized Braille Production Centre (of the Hong Kong Society for the Blind) subvented by the Education Department.

2.4 Resource Help Service

Some visually-impaired integrators in ordinary schools are provided with Resource Help Service at the regional resource teaching centres. They receive small group remedial teaching on the three basic subjects and counselling on social adjustment once a week. Those who cannot come to the centres are visited by the resource teachers once every two weeks. Due advice to school heads, teachers and parents on the management of these pupils are given during the visits.
3. Support Services for Pupils with Physical Handicap

    3.1 Resource Help Service

    Physically handicapped pupils who are studying in ordinary schools but are backward in their basic subjects or have adjustment problems are visited by resource teachers from the Education Department at their respective schools every fortnight. They may also attend centre-based classes once a week. Teaching in basic learning skills and guidance on their social adjustment are provided. Schools and parents are also advised on their management of the pupils. The teacher-pupil ratio is 1:23.

4. Support Services for Pupils with Mild Mental Handicap

    4.1 Resource Classes

Pupils assessed to be intellectually at the top of mild grade mental handicap range usually remain in ordinary schools. They receive intensive remedial support in the three basic subjects in resource classes. The teacher-pupil ratio is 1:15.

4.2 Resource Teaching Centre

Pupils who have learning problems but are attending schools without Resource Classes are supported at the Resource Teaching Centre outside school hours. The teacher-pupil ratio is 1:45.
5. Support Services for Pupils with Autism and Average Intelligence

    5.1 Adjustment Programme

Pupils with social adjustment problems in schools are supported at the Special Education Services Centres on a part-time or full-time basis, depending on the severity of their problems. Pupils are usually discharged from the Adjustment Programme when their problems subside. The teacher-pupil ratio is 1:8 .

Appendix 2

Pilot Project on Integration of
Children with Special Needs in Ordinary Schools


In May 1996, the Board of Education (BoE) Sub-committee on Special Education published its report. In view of the opinions received during public consultation on the report, the BoE noted the need for a long-term strategy on integration. It therefore recommended a pilot project to facilitate formulation of a future strategy.

Aim and duration of the Pilot Project

2. The aim of the project is to find out how children with a disability can be effectively integrated into ordinary schools.

3. The project was launched in September 1997 and lasts for 2 years, i.e. from 1997/98 to 1998/99 school years.

Target schools and pupils

4. The project includes pupils with the following types of disability:

    mild grade mental handicap
    hearing impairment
    visual impairment
    physical handicap
    autistic disorder with average intelligence

Each school admits a maximum of eight target pupils with not more than two types of disability in order to keep them in a manageable size. 49 target pupils are currently studying in seven primary and two secondary schools.

Additional resources and support to the schools

5. The following resources and support are provided:

  1. one resource teacher (at CM rank), with special education training, for every five pupils in the project;

  2. one teacher assistant for every eight pupils in the Project;

  3. a non-recurrent grant of $50,000 for each school and a recurrent grant of $1,000 for each pupil in the project per year; and

  4. an Educational Psychologist and a Senior Inspector to provide regular school-based support and organize experience-sharing workshops for the pilot schools.