Information Paper

Provision of Education for Newly Arrived Children


This paper informs Members of the education and support services being provided to newly arrived children (NAC) from the Mainland.


2. Education Department (ED) has been providing dedicated services for NAC since 1995 to help these children integrate quickly with the local education system. These services include assisting NAC to find school places, running Induction Programmes, English Extension Programmes and Short-term Full-time Preparatory Courses to help NAC adjust to local school life, and providing schools with block grants to enable them to run school-based support programmes. ED has also prepared school resource materials such as curriculum guidelines, English learning package, CD-ROM on traditional Chinese characters, and tests on languages and mathematics to assess the standard of NAC. A summary of the services is at the Annex.

3. It was estimated that as at July 1997 there were 66,000 children in the Mainland who were aged below 20 and had the right of abode in Hong Kong under Article 24(3) of the Basic Law ("eligible children"). On the assumption that these children would apply to come to Hong Kong in around two years' time, ED has taken the following steps to ensure that adequate education services would be provided:-

  • setting up a central coordinating group to oversee the provision of school places and support services;

  • utilising all existing vacancies and if necessary, operating additional classes in existing and new schools;

  • building additional schools to meet increased demand for school places;

  • setting up extra teams of staff in District Education Offices to strengthen placement assistance;

  • liaising with teacher training institutions on the requirement of additional pre-service and in-service teacher training; and

  • setting aside more funds to run additional Induction/English Extension Programmes and to provide school-based support services and financial assistance to NAC.

Education for NAC over the Age of 15

4. Newly arrived young people 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. District Education Offices will provide them with information on schools and placement assistance as appropriate. They can also enrol in craft courses run by the technical institutes of the Vocational Training Council. Since September 1996, the admission age for adult education courses has been lowered from 18 to 15 to provide an additional channel for NAC aged between 15 to 18 to receive education.

5. The Hong Kong Examinations Authority 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 sit for the examination as private candidates, provided that 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 were allowed to sit the examination as private candidates even before 1998.)

Present position

6. Of the estimated 66,000 eligible children, about 46,000 have already come to Hong Kong. We have put aside adequate resources in providing the necessary education services for these eligible children (including the 20,000 who have yet to arrive).

Construction of new schools

7. To meet the demand from the 66,000 eligible children, we have planned to construct 32 schools (13 primary schools and 19 secondary schools) at a total cost of about $2,600 million. So far, 7 primary schools have been completed and have commenced operation, the other schools are scheduled for completion in the coming few years. Details are as follows:

Schools to be
completed and
1997/98 1998/991999/20002000/012001/02Total
Primary52- 3313
Secondary--9 9119

Expenditure on Support Services in 1999-2000

8. In the 1999-2000 financial year, a sum of $97M has been earmarked for provision of support services to NAC to help them adjust to the local education system. The breakdown is as follows :

Induction / English Extension Programmes28
School-based Support Scheme45
Short-term Full-time Preparatory courses9
Direct Placement Assistance3
Provision of Student Financial Assistance12

Impact of Court of Final Appeal's (CFA) Ruling

9. Government is taking steps to assess the impact of the CFA's judgement delivered on 29 January 1999 on the Certificate of Entitlement Scheme on the provision of various services. Census and Statistics Department is conducting a household survey from March to May 1999 to estimate the number of persons who are or will be eligible for the right of abode following the CFA's judgement. The survey results, expected to be available by end July 1999, will provide a reliable basis for Government to make a comprehensive assessment of the impact on the demand for various services, including the provision of education services.

10. Pending the survey outcome, it may be useful to give Members a broad idea on the resource implications for providing education services for NAC:-

(A) Capital cost of establishing a new school

ItemCost ($)
-Average building cost of a standard design
30-classroom public sector school

108 million
91 million
-CostNote 2of teacher training for a 30-classroom public sector school

14 million
18 millionNote 3
(B)Cost of providing education services

-Cost of an aided school place

-School-based Support Scheme Grant per NAC Secondary
-Cost of Induction Programme per NAC

-Cost of English Extension Programme per NAC

-Cost of Short-term Full-time Preparatory Course per NAC

-Student Financial Assistance per NAC (on average)


Education Department
March 1999


Summary of Education and Support Services
for Newly Arrived Children from the Mainland

Provision of School Places

Education Department (ED) has been closely monitoring the demand for school places arising from the increase in the number of newly arrived children (NAC) with a view to providing more school places in time. 32 schools (13 primary and 19 secondary) have been planned for completion between 1997/98 to 2001/02.

Placement Assistance

2. District Education Officers will help NAC find school places upon their request. Since April 1996, information leaflets with a pre-paid self-addressed reply slip have been distributed at the Lo Wu checkpoint, 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 handle difficult placement cases referred by District Education Offices. Normally, a NAC can be placed within 21 working days.

3. In the 1997/98 school year, District Education Offices placed some 14 600 NAC in public sector schools. In the 1998/99 school year, about 9 800 have been placed up to January 1999.

Helping NAC to Adjust

School-based Support Scheme

4. A school-based support scheme has been introduced since the 1997/98 school year. A block grant is given, upon application to public sector schools which admit NAC, at the rate of $2,000 per NAC at the primary level and $3,330 at the 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 materials and acquiring specific resource material.

5. The number of NAC benefited in the 1997-98 and 1998-99 financial years is:

No. of NAC
1997-9812 301
1998-99 (estimate)15 000

Short-term Full-time Preparatory Course

6. In the 1997/98 school year, ED identified five primary and two secondary schools at convenient locations which have vacant classrooms to operate short-term full-time preparatory courses on a pilot basis. These courses aim at helping NAC adapt to local school environment in preparation for regular school studies in a normal school setting. In the 1998/99 school year, an additional 28 primary and 3 secondary schools joined to operate these preparatory courses.

Induction /English Extension Programmes

7. Since April 1995, NAC aged from 6 to 15 can participate in the 60-hour Induction Programme operated by non-government organizations (NGOs). The Programme covers both social adjustment and education aspects including Chinese and English languages learning and homework guidance. With effect from October 1995, NGOs also started to provide a 60-hour English Extension Programme for NAC aged from 9 to 15 who had completed the Induction Programme. Both Programmes are subvented by ED.

8. The enrolment of these Programmes in the 1997-98 to 1998-99 financial years is as follows :

Induction Programme10 75014 000
English Extension Programme7 0008 000

Support for Teachers and School

Curriculum Guidelines

9. To provide guidance and assistance for schools to help integrate NAC into the local education system, ED issued curriculum guidelines on the subjects of Chinese Language, English Language and Mathematics in 1996.

English Language Self-learning Package

10. To assist NAC in learning English, ED distributed in May 1997 copies of an English language self-learning package for Primary 1 to Primary 3 levels to all primary schools and NGOs offering Induction and / or English Extension Programmes for NAC.

Languages and Mathematics Tests for NAC

11. ED has constructed test on the Chinese Language, English Language and Mathematics to assist schools in assessing the standard of NAC for admission to Primary 2 to Secondary 4 levels. The tests for primary levels were distributed in June 1997. Those for Secondary 1 to 3 and Secondary 4 levels were distributed in October 1997 and January 1998 respectively.

CD-ROM on Traditional Chinese Characters

12. ED distributed to schools in January 1998 a CD-ROM to assist NAC in learning the traditional Chinese characters.


13. ED has been publicising the education services for new arrivals by press releases from time to time and by regular radio announcements in both Cantonese and Putonghua. ED also regularly issues relevant circulars to schools to inform them of these services. Since May 1997, ED has been publicising the education services for NAC on TV as well.

Education Department
March 1999

Note 2--Calculating on the basis that there is on average 53 teachers for each secondary school and 45 teachers for each primary school.

Note 3--The average training cost per primary teacher is higher than that of a secondary because, according to past trends, most graduate primary teachers undertake a 4-year Bachelor of Education course whereas most graduate secondary teachers undertake 1-year Postgraduate Diploma in Education.