For information
on 21 September 1998

Information Paper

Quality Education Fund


This paper briefs Members on the progress of the Quality Education Fund (QEF).

Background Establishment of the Quality Education Fund

2. The QEF was formally established on 2 January 1998 in accordance with the recommendations of the Education Commission Report No. 7 (ECR7). An allocation of $5 billion was made to the QEF to finance projects for the promotion of quality school education in Hong Kong. The QEF mainly caters for non-profit making initiatives within the ambit of basic education, i.e. pre-primary, primary, secondary and special education by funding projects promoting the quality of teaching and learning in schools, all-round education, school-based management projects, educational researches, and schemes that award excellence in the performance of schools and in teaching and other projects specified in the ECR7.

3. All schools, educational bodies and teaching professionals are eligible to apply. Other non-profit making organisations, public bodies and individuals are also welcome to apply.

QEF Steering Committee

4. A QEF Steering Committee (QEFSC) has been set up under the Education Commission (EC) to advise on the policies and procedures regarding the operation of the QEF. It is serviced by a full-time secretariat headed by a D2 officer. The QEFSC is chaired by a member of the EC and supported by eight non-official members representing the school sector, professionals, and the business community; and two Government officials. It makes recommendations on the award of grants to the Trustee of the QEF (the Director of Education), via the EC. (The current membership and terms of reference of the QEFSC is at Enclosure 1.)

Assessment Procedure

5. All applications are considered by the QEFSC with the support of secretariat staff. Where necessary, the QEFSC will seek the expert advice of external advisors in assessing the applications. Both the secretariat and the QEFSC maintain an open communication channel with applicants, and will invite applicants to present their projects before the QEFSC meeting if necessary. All papers, assessments and decisions on individual applications are accessible by the applicant concerned.

6. Where a QEFSC member is related to the applicant's organisation or is himself/herself the applicant or a member of the project team, the QEFSC member must declare his/her interests and is required to abstain from the discussion of the application.

Assessment Criteria

7. Projects to be funded by the QEF should -

  • fall within the scope of the QEF and be able to meet its objective to enhance quality school education;

  • be cost-effective, i.e. the cost of the projects should be broadly commensurate with the expected results;

  • not carry any recurrent financial implications on the QEF beyond its own project duration;

  • have the potential for wider application and implementation in the school sector, if proven successful;

  • be innovative and pioneering in nature, at least for the school concerned;

  • carry an element of teacher development, i.e. through their involvement in the projects, the teachers' professional competence can be developed; and

  • be mainly undertaken in Hong Kong

QEF Investment Committee

8. The QEF Investment Committee has been set up alongside the QEFSC to set policies for and to monitor the investment and management of the Fund. Membership for the QEF Investment Committee is at Enclosure 2.

First Call for Applications to the QEF

9. The QEF was officially launched on 5 March 1998, and applications were invited until 30 April 1998. A total of 2 367 applications were received, requesting grants amounting to $2,260 million. The breakdown of the applications by the target sector, by project nature and by applicant group is as follows :

Target SectorNo. of Applications ($m grant sought)Project Nature No. of Applications ($m grant sought)Applicant GroupNo. of applications ($m grant sought)
Pre-primary133 (78)Quality of Teaching and Learning 839 (1 262)Pre-primary98 (28)
Primary489 (375)All-round Education 1 032 (396)Primary440 (176)
Secondary1 535 (1 072)School-based Management 429 (427)Secondary1 356 (585)
Special82 (40)Educational Researches 67 (175)Special71 (29)
Cross Sector128 (695)

Others 402 (1 442)
Total2 367 (2 260)Total 2 367 (2 260)Total2 367 (2 260)

10. The QEFSC has completed the vetting of all applications except 18 on which further information or discussion with the applicants is necessary. On the advice of the QEFSC, the Trustee of the QEF has approved grants totalling $333 million for 510 worthwhile projects to improve the quality of school education. Breakdown of the approved projects by the sector to benefit, by project nature, and by applicant group is as follows :

Sector to BenefitNo. of Applications ($m grant approved) Project NatureNo. of Applications ($m grant approved) Applicant GroupNo. of applications ($m grant approved)
Pre-primary67 (9)Quality of Teaching and Learning 170 (213)Pre-primary57 (4)
Primary141 (39)All-round Education 266 (54)Primary131 (22)
Secondary250 (113)School-based Management 60 (33)Secondary219 (68)
Special27 (9) Educational Researches 14 (33)Special26 (8)
Cross Sector25 (163)

Others77 (231)
Total510 (333)Total 510 (333)Total510 (333)

11. Successful applicants are required to sign an agreement with the Trustee of the QEF (Director of Education Incorporated) which lays down the conditions of the grant. Funded projects will be monitored by QEFSC. To facilitate monitoring and evaluation of projects, grantees need to submit statements of accounts, programmes of events, and progress reports periodically upon request. After the completion of the project, the grantee is required to submit a final written report on the project to the QEFSC.

12. Up-to-date information on the QEF is provided through the Internet (website: Statistics on successful project applications are detailed therein. Written or phone enquiries are welcome, and a QEF hotline is available to answer questions.

Outstanding Teacher and School Awards

13. A Task Group (OTSA) has been set up under the QEF Steering Committee to organise the Outstanding Teacher and School Awards (OTSA). This was in response to a recommendation in ECR7 that outstanding practices and performance of teachers and schools should be awarded through QEF. The OTSA Task Group has formulated the nomination and selection procedures and the selection criteria for the Outstanding Teacher Awards (OTA) and Outstanding School Awards (OSA) respectively. On 2 July 1998, the Task Group issued a consultation document containing proposals on the two award schemes for consultation with the school sector until 30 September 1998. A number of consultation meetings have been held to facilitate the exchange of views between members of the Task Group and the education sector. Feedback will be carefully considered by the Task Group and we expect to be able to finalise the schemes and to invite nominations by the end of this year, with a view to making awards by late-1999.

Next Stage of Work

14. The QEFSC is now working on a strategy to properly monitor the progress of all funded projects, and to promote and disseminate the outcome of the projects to the schools sector and the community. One option being considered by the QEFSC is to organise a large-scale exhibition of QEF projects in the first quarter of next year. To enable the QEFSC to perform this monitoring and promotional role effectively, we will consider strengthening the membership of QEFSC to co-opt more members from the relevant sectors, and to increase the staffing for the secretariat. The promotional activities will incur some expenditures from the QEF.

15. We are now conducting a review on our experience from the first call of applications with a view to identifying any areas that need refinement, for instance in respect of the vetting procedures, the timing of inviting applications, assessment criteria, administrative arrangements, technical support and communication with applications etc. The review report will be submitted to the Education Commission. Subject to the outcome of the review, we intend to invite the next round of applications in October this year.

Education and Manpower Bureau
September 1998

Quality Education Fund Steering Committee
Membership List


Mr Irving Koo Yee-yin, JP


Mrs Philomena Chu Tang Lai-kuen
Mrs Judy Chua Tiong Hong-sieng, JP
Mr Fung Man-ching
Mr Ip Cho-yin
Miss Peggy Liu Pik-yun
Mr Peter Tsang Cheung
Mr Tso Kai-lok
Mr Yip Chee-tim


Deputy Secretary for Education and Manpower
(Mr Raymond Young)

Representative of Director of Education


Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower
(Mr S.A.A. Gafoor)

Terms of Reference of
the Quality Education Fund (QEF) Steering Committee

  1. To make recommendations to the Government, via the Education Commission (EC), on the custody and use of QEF, specifically -

    1. to advise on the procedures for inviting, and guidelines for assessing, applications for funding;

    2. to advise on the detailed criteria for allocations to be made from QEF; and

    3. to advise on the policy for the control and use of QEF including any standing arrangements in respect of disbursements.

  2. To oversee the on-going operation of QEF including -

    1. to consider applications for funding and to make recommendations to the Trustee on whether the applications should be supported;

    2. to monitor the operation of QEF Secretariat; and

    3. to review the effectiveness of the funded projects.

  3. To make recommendations to EC on -

    1. the overall strategy for making use of QEF as a vehicle to enhance the overall quality of school education;

    2. the strategy for disseminating best practices and experience gained from projects funded by QEF; and

    3. any researches, studies or initiatives to be undertaken by EC itself for the purpose of promoting quality education.

Quality Education Fund Investment Committee
Membership List


Secretary for Education and Manpower
(Mr Joseph W P Wong, JP)


Director of Education
(Mrs Helen C P Lai Yu, JP)

Director of Accounting Services
(Mr Brian Dagnall, JP)


Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower
(Mr S.A.A. Gafoor)