For discussion
Paper No. XX/99
on 1 February 1999

Proposed Creation of a Supernumerary AO Staff Grade B
Post for the Implementation Team of Education Department


This paper seeks Members' views on the Director of Education's proposal to create one supernumerary post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade B (AOSGB) (D3) in the Education Department (ED) for two years with effect from 1 April 1999.


2. In December 1997, the Education and Manpower Bureau (EMB) commissioned a consultancy to review the organisation and management structure of the ED to enable the Department to function more efficiently, effectively and responsively in its mission to provide quality education. The consultant firm submitted its final report to the Government in May 1998. Public consultation on the report began in July and concluded on 20 October 1998.


The reform

3. The reform of ED is one of the key education initiatives announced in the 1998 Policy Address. It stems from a review of ED in 1998 when the department and the community at large agreed that, to promote long-term development of quality education, it would be necessary to revamp ED's organisational structure and change the management culture in both ED and the school sector, such that ED's role will be strengthened as the professional leader, regulator and facilitator in the education field.

4. The reform serves to -

  1. establish a client-based culture in ED and improve communication within the department and with other stakeholders so that it can serve the needs of its partners in the education system in a more efficient and effective manner;

  2. enhance the professional capabilities of ED; and

  3. devolve to schools more authority with corresponding accountability so as to facilitate school-based management.

In view of the complexity and sensitivity of the issues involved, we estimate that it will take up to five years for the reform to be fully completed and for the new management culture to firmly take root in ED and the school sector. An outline of the change programme to be initiated by ED in the coming two years is at Enclosure 1. ED will review the need for other change activities in the light of developments in the education sector following implementation of the two year change programme.

Need for a supernumerary post of AOSGB

5. Given the large number of the reform measures and their far-reaching impact, SEM will chair a Steering Committee to give guidance on the overall direction of change and to monitor progress. Within ED, the Deputy Director of Education (DDE) will head a dedicated Implementation Team to formulate detailed proposals, establish priorities and draw up a timetable to take forward the necessary changes. The Implementation Team needs to tackle complex organisational and policy issues, consult stakeholders concerned both within and outside the Administration, and manage staff expectations and reactions throughout the process. It will report directly to D of E and submit regular progress reports to SEM's Steering Committee. To accomplish these demanding tasks, D of E requires an additional directorate officer at AOSGB (D3) level to provide administrative and policy support to DDE.

6. The officer will assume the role of the Deputy Head of the Implementation Team. He will be responsible to DDE for strategic planning and the overall management of the change programme. He will be the key person responsible for formulating the reform strategies and communication plans, setting specific improvement targets and recommending priorities for implementation, having regard to the capability of the Department and the school sector to assimilate the changes proposed. In so doing, he needs to co-ordinate departmental efforts, liaise with stakeholders and respond to public views.

7. He will also assist D of E and DDE in co-ordinating the implementation of major policy initiatives, such as language policy and teacher education, the responsibility for which is currently shared among various departmental divisions. Until such time as the organisation and division of responsibilities are rationalized, and procedures are streamlined, considerable co-ordination and close monitoring efforts are required to ensure smooth implementation of important policy initiatives and its interface with the ED reform, having regard to organisational and process changes recommended to the departmental divisions concerned. The job description of the proposed AOSGB post is at Enclosure 2.

8. Having regard to the high-level strategic input expected from the Deputy Head of the Implementation Team, the requirement for sound political acumen, and his representational role in consulting and liaising with policy/resource bureaux and other educational bodies, we consider it necessary to pitch the post at AOSGB level. As it will take about two years for the major structural changes to take shape, we propose to create the post for two years from 1 April 1999.

9. The organisation structure of ED following the establishment of the Implementation Team is at Enclosure 3. To kickstart the reform process, Dof E has created under delegated authority a supernumerary Principal Executive Officer (D1) post for six months ending 29 May 1999. D of E will create one Chief Training Officer and redeploy staff within the department to support the work of the Implementation Team.


10. Members are invited to give their views on this proposal which will be submitted to the Establishment Sub-committee for endorsement on 10 February 1999.

Education Department
January 1999


Enclosure 1

Outline of Change Programme
for Education Department (ED)

I. To re-organise and rationalise the functions and structure of ED through -

  1. undertaking a major re-organisation and rationalisation of the functions and structure of ED's headquarters in order to improve its interface with schools, students, parents and the community, and to foster a strategic partnership between ED and other players in the education system;

  2. conducting process re-engineering on the various functions now being performed by ED staff;

  3. minimising bureaucracy within ED by "de-layering" the decision-making process;

  4. improving the co-ordination and collaboration across divisions;

  5. divesting ED of those functions which are not central to ED's role as a facilitator and regulator of school education; and

  6. reviewing critically the roles and functions of the District Education Offices in order to support the development of the strategic partnership with schools.

II. To re-define the relationship between ED and schools through -

  1. empowering schools to be accountable for their own performance, whilst maintaining ED's important role in monitoring their performance and ensuring compliance with statutory requirements and satisfactory accomplishment of quality levels;

  2. refining the existing quality assurance process undertaken by ED. This will be achieved by -

    1. strengthening Quality Assurance Inspections and re-structuring the various inspection functions within ED;

    2. rationalising the school-based management framework by re-defining the respective roles and relationships among ED and the other players in the school management system; and

    3. stepping up the quality and accountability of school principals through providing more training, institutionalising performance appraisal for principals, and improving the process of removing under-performing principals.

III. To take concrete measures to improve the professional quality of ED's staff through -

  1. opening up professional posts within ED and arrange cross-postings of personnel between ED and the school sector;

  2. putting in place a simplified grade structure;

  3. providing more rigorous training for ED staff;

  4. enhancing the professional autonomy of the Curriculum Development Institute;

  5. scaling down non-professional duties currently performed by ED staff; and

  6. enhancing the role of Government schools in piloting new initiatives and in disseminating good practices across the school sector.

Enclosure 2

Job Description of the Deputy Head
of the Implementation Team on ED Review (AOSGB)(D3)

Responsible to the Deputy Director of Education for strategic planning and overall management of the reform and its implementation. This includes :

  1. managing the entire reform and acting as a focal point for co-ordinating all departmental efforts towards the implementation of reform;

  2. formulating strategies and communication plans; designing and leading seminars and workshops to foster partnership relations between ED and other education stakeholders;

  3. developing and putting in place a comprehensive work programme to instil a customer-focused and results-oriented culture in the department;

  4. co-ordinating the implementation of major policy initiatives involving various departmental divisions to ensure smooth interface with the ED reform;

  5. steering specific review projects and consultancies to overhaul service delivery and improve management systems and processes;

  6. conducting high-level discussions with the policy and resource bureaux to secure the requisite policy and procedural changes and resources for carrying out the reform; and

  7. reporting regularly to the Steering Committee on the progress of the reform and making recommendations to resolve interface problems.