Information Paper
Recruitment Under
the Native-speaking English Teacher Scheme


The Education Commission in its Report No. 6 (ECR6) -- Enhancing Language Proficiency: A Comprehensive Strategy -- recommended that secondary schools be encouraged to employ, on local terms of service, more native English speakers qualified to teach English language. The aim is to improve the English language proficiency of students. As a result, Government introduced the Native-speaking English Teacher (NET) Scheme this year. The target is to employ 100 NETs in the 1996-97 school year.

The NET Scheme

Qualifications for Appointment

2. The qualifications required of NETs for appointment are:

  1. a Bachelor’s degree in English Language/Literature or a Modern Language; and
  2. a Certificate in Education or equivalent; and
  3. a Teaching of English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) or a Second Language (TESL) qualification at least at the certificate level; and
  4. at least two years relevant post-graduate experience of teaching English, preferably as a second or foreign language, in a recognized institution at secondary level or above.

3. To widen the net for potential catchment, these requirements have been relaxed to the extent that candidates without a TEFL/TESL qualification can be considered for appointment but they must attend a course in Hong Kong leading to such qualification within the first school year following their appointment.

Terms of Employment

4. NETs are employed as Graduate Masters on local contract terms for a period of two years, subject to renewal. Fringe benefits include passages, travelling and baggage allowances for the first contract and on completion of the contract, a gratuity equivalent to 25% of the total basic salary. Leave entitlement is the same as local teachers in aided schools.

Response to the NET Scheme

5. Aided secondary schools were invited to participate in the NET Scheme in May 1996. Schools were encouraged to participate by District Education Officers. Each participating school could employ up to two NETs to fill graduate teaching vacancies. Schools could either recruit direct or via the Education Department.

6. The initial response from schools in June 1996 was as follows:

Participating schools

NETs to be recruited direct

NETs to be recruited via ED






7. From June to August, ED advertised locally and in major English-speaking countries, in newspapers, and also on the Internet. This attracted 687 applicants, 172 of whom met the basic requirements. A breakdown of applications is as follows:

Place of issue


Qualified applicants

Hong Kong



Australia/New Zealand












Other countries
(e.g. Thailand, Turkey)






As the number of NETs to be recruited via ED is 12, the ED considered it sufficient to interview the 23 qualified applicants in Hong Kong only. 20 of them turned up for interview: 8 were found not suitable and the remaining 12 were referred to schools for consideration.

8. At the start of the school term in September 1996, 25 out of the 37 participating schools withdrew for the following reasons:

  1. It was difficult to recruit qualified NETs even under the relaxed requirements in paragraph 3; and
  2. There were fewer vacancies in the new school term than envisaged in May 1996. Some teachers expected to resign have decided to stay on.

Present Position

9. At present, 14 NETs have been employed in 12 participating schools, six of whom were recruited by ED on behalf of the schools.

Recruitment Problems

10. The reasons identified for the recruitment difficulties are summarised below:

  1. Recruitment from overseas

    Although recruitment could be conducted overseas and schools could charge the administrative costs to their Subscriptions Account, most schools considered it not cost-effective to recruit just one or two teachers by this means.

  2. Time constraint

    The introduction of the Scheme in mid-May 1996 meant a tight schedule for recruitment.

  3. Schools’ requirements

    Some schools considered the NETs referred to them by ED did not meet the individual requirements of the schools.

Measures to Boost Participation

11. Meetings with major school sponsors have been conducted by ED to encourage participation in the Scheme. District Education Officers will continue to encourage schools to recruit NETs whenever teaching vacancies arise in the school year. The ED will consider conducting interviews overseas, particularly in countries where there are a large number of qualified applicants, e.g. Australia, Canada and U.K.

Support Measures for NETs

12. In order to support schools engaging NETs, to monitor the Scheme and to help the appointees, an induction course has been organized for NETs in September. The Education Department is making effort to arrange experience-sharing sessions for schools and for NETs early next year.

Review of the NET Scheme

13. To improve the NET Scheme, ED is reviewing the recruitment procedures. ED will also examine the reasons for schools not participating in the Scheme in the 1996-97 school year. At the same time, ED is monitoring the effectiveness of NETs in enhancing English language proficiency amongst students.

Education Department
October 1996

Last Updated on 14 August 1998