For discussion on
31 October 1998

LegCo Panel on Home Affairs
Subcommittee on Long Term Cultural Policy

Response of the Administration to
Written Submissions to the LegCo Panel on Home Affairs


This paper sets out the response of the Administration to the written submissions from individuals and arts organisations to the LegCo Panel on Home Affairs for its meeting held on 14 September 1998.


2. A total of 14 submissions were received from the following individuals and arts organisations :

  • Mr Vincent CHOW, Chairman, Hong Kong Arts Development Council

  • Hon. Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, JP

  • Dr HO Chi-ping

  • Dr Vicki C.H. Ooi

  • Arts with The Disabled Association Hong Kong

  • Department of Fine Arts, Chinese University of Hong Kong

  • Hong Kong Arts Centre

  • Hong Kong Cultural Sector Joint Conference

  • Hong Kong Development and Strategic Research Centre

  • Hong Kong Institute for the Promotion of Chinese Culture
    (Professor LEUNG Ping-chung)

  • Hong Kong Society for Education In Art

  • Hong Kong Tourists Association

  • Centre of the Arts, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

  • Museum of Site

3. The contents of these submissions focus on the following main themes -

  • Culture policy : need and ambit

  • Institutional framework

  • Cultural exchange

  • Promotion and support to the arts

  • Arts education

  • Culture and tourism

  • Arts and culture for the disabled

  • Museum activities

  • Management of venues and facilities


Culture Policy : Need and Ambit

4. As 'culture' is an all-embracing term, a culture policy, if any, would necessarily have an impact on a wide spectrum of areas including education, housing, city planning, broadcasting and information, social welfare, industrial and economic development etc. If the definition is so broad, it would not be plausible for Government to formulate a culture policy which encompasses every aspect of life.

5. On the other hand, the Government sees the need to continue playing a supportive role in arts development and to encourage the provision of a rich, colourful and varied arts environment, blending the best of East and West. We will ensure that the social environment remains conducive to diversified arts development, encourage creativity and promote understanding of our national heritage.

Institutional Framework

6. The Chief Executive has just announced in his 1998 Policy Address the conclusion of the Review on District Organisations that it would be better to have dedicated agencies play the leading role in the development of the arts and sport. We will develop a new administrative framework for the delivery of arts and sport services with the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC), the Hong Kong Sports Development Board and other concerned parties in the arts and sports communities. Our objective is to develop a new structure which will -

  1. strengthen both professional and community input and ensure a proper balance between them;

  2. ensure effective use of resources and avoid undue interference of sectoral interests; and

  3. facilitate the formulation and implementation of overall arts and sports policies.

The key players of the new structure should include professionals from the arts and sports communities as well as representatives from the community and other sectors such as business, tourism, etc.

7. The Administration has just commenced a review of the composition, role and funding of the various bodies and will draw on the views of relevant professionals and experts in these fields in order to build up the new structure for the coordination of the relevant service provisions. We will also consider whether there is a need to set up one or more advisory bodies. The Administration will soon consult relevant arts and sports bodies on the matter so that we can put the new structure in place before the end of 1999. We hope that we can come up with a structure which will enable us to provide improved services and meet new challenges in the next century.

Cultural Exchange

8. The Administration recognises that international cultural exchange activities will contribute to the development of a diversified arts scene in Hong Kong. Such activities should enhance the artistic standards of Hong Kong artists, promote appreciation of Hong Kong arts and uplift the profile of Hong Kong arts in the international art scene.

9. Arts organisations in Hong Kong are free to organise and participate in international cultural exchange activities. The Administration has been encouraging, through the HKADC, participation of artists and arts organisations in these activities. The HKADC is conducting relevant research on cultural exchange and plans to formulate a strategy on promotion of cultural exchange activities by 1999-2000.

Promotion and Support to Arts and Culture

10. The Administration is committed to the promotion and development of the arts to improve the quality of life in Hong Kong. We give infrastructural support by building venues. We provide financial resources to the HKADC to enable it to discharge its functions of promoting the broad development of arts and to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts to provide for the professional training of performing artists. We have constantly devoted our efforts to uplift the profile of the arts of Hong Kong through publicity and education.

11. ‘Pluralism and diversity’ in arts is one of the essential principles adopted by the HKADC. We will maintain our efforts in collaboration with the HKADC to encourage the development of various artforms to ensure that Hong Kong has a dynamic arts scene. We will continue to provide an environment which will allow people to give full play to their talent and creativity.

12. Heritage preservation and promotion is an important part of cultural activities. The Administration joins hands with the Antiquities Advisory Board and endeavours to preserve Hong Kong’s cultural heritage. Exhibitions and educational programmes were organised and heritage publications were produced as part of our continuous effort to promote public interest in our cultural heritage. Work in this aspect has contributed to a better understanding of our history and culture. Young people are encouraged to appreciate our traditional culture through civic and school education. We will sustain our effort in this area to promote traditional art and culture.

13. To promote local visual art work, we are working closely with HKADC on a pilot scheme to display works of local artists in the Queensway Government Offices. A series of exhibitions will be held starting from late October 1998. Besides, the Administration has been trying to identify vacant premises for temporary use as studios or rehearsal space by artists. So far six vacant premises have been allocated to HKADC for the purpose. Depending on the response to the pilot scheme and the temporary use of the premises, the Administration will continue with our efforts in this area.

14. The Administration recognises the role of the electronic media in the promotion of arts in Hong Kong. While an arts channel is at present not practical because of spectrum constraints, commercial television and radio broadcasting licensees are obliged, under their licence conditions, to broadcast no less than a certain period of programming intended and suitable for promoting the development and appreciation of the literary, performing and visual arts and other topics or activities of cultural value. In the 1998 Review of Television Policy, our proposals are aimed to create an environment conducive to the development of the television market and, in the process, stimulate the growth of related industries (e.g. music, film, programme production) and bring the widest choice of quality services to the community.

15. As regards the film industry, Government established on 1 April 1998 a Film Services Office (FSO) to assist and promote its development. The FSO’s mission is to maintain a favourable environment conducive to the healthy and long-term development of the film industry, facilitate film production in Hong Kong (especially with regard to location shooting) and promote Hong Kong films locally and overseas. To complement the work of the FSO, a Film Services Advisory Committee was established on 1 May 1998 to provide for dialogue between the film industry and the Government and give advice on the work of the FSO. The Chief Executive has just announced in his 1998 Policy Address that a Film Development Fund would be set up in 1999 to promote innovation by supporting projects aimed at enhancing the industry’s professional and technological capabilities, stimulating the growth of creative productions, facilitating the use of advanced special effects techniques and improving the skills of employees. With all these initiatives in place, most of the functions of a Film Commission as requested by the film industry have been carried out. The Administration therefore does not consider it necessary to set up a Film Commission using public funds.

16. The Administration will be consulting HKADC and concerned parties on the new administrative structure for arts. As part of this exercise, we shall also review how the existing resources should be better utilised to ensure that they are put to cost-effective and optimal use in the delivery of arts and cultural services.

Arts Education

17. The Education Department (ED) deeply appreciates the financial support provided by HKADC regarding the pilot projects on arts education initiated by ED. On account of the success of these projects and subject to availability of funding, ED will continue to organise such projects as regular programmes for schools. One of the examples is that the project on the appreciation of Cantonese Opera in schools funded by HKADC has become an annual event organised by ED since 1997-98.

18. Regarding art education in primary and secondary schools, emphasis is placed on the application of both hand and mind as well as the coverage of east and west. Moreover, it is stressed that the subject should be lively. The art and crafts subject in primary schools mainly includes three major areas, namely, art knowledge, art creation as well as art and life. Knowledge on Chinese culture and appreciation of Chinese art are assimilated to the three areas. In the art and design curricula of junior secondary and senior secondary, Chinese art history is an independent area of study, which covers appreciation and understanding on calligraphy, painting, architecture and crafts in Chinese art.

19. To boost the opportunities for Hong Kong students to study Chinese art, ED produces a lot of teaching kits on China-related subjects for teachers, such as slides, tapes and booklets, etc.. The number of these teaching kits is increasing. In recent years, the art education in Hong Kong has placed more emphasis on enhancing students’ knowledge of Chinese art. The ED has organised many classes on Chinese art for art teachers so as to strengthen their understanding of the subject. As for students, the Hong Kong Museum of Art has recently organised the Exhibition "National Treasures". The event has attracted some 200,000 visitors, over half of which were primary and secondary students under their teachers’ guidance. According to a survey conducted by the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Chinese heritage has been the most welcomed item of exhibits by Hong Kong students. It reveals that Chinese art education has not been neglected in our school education.

20. For proposals relating to the curriculum structure and focus, teacher establishment and qualification as well as provision of classrooms for art and craft, the Administration has the following observations -

Curriculum structure - Arts should become a core subject in senior secondary education

  1. In the policy statement on the objectives of Hong Kong school education, the nurturing of art and culture is one of the clear objectives. Schools should arrange both formal curriculum and extra-curricular activities in such a way that help develop students’ creativity and aesthetivity; as well as guide students to appreciate the achievement of local culture as well as the culture elsewhere.

  2. Under the existing arrangement, there is no core subject in senior secondary curriculum. Moreover, there are 42 subjects available in the formal senior curriculum. In developing its school-based curriculum, schools have to choose among the subjects available, having regard to the established policy of the schools, its human resources and facilities, and the needs and interests of students.

  3. The curriculum guidelines issued by the Curriculum Development Institutes also recommend that schools should choose 2 subjects from among the subjects of "Art and Design", "Music" and "Design and Technology/Cooking". Art subjects should be included under whatever combinations. This helps achieve the aforesaid objective.

Focus of curriculum

  1. History of Chinese and Western art does not account for a large proportion in the new syllabus outline of art and design for junior secondary level. Please refer to the following table for the recommended proportion for different study areas:

Art knowledge


History of Chinese and Western art






















  1. The above is just the recommended proportion for different study areas. Teachers should design a balanced teaching plan taking into account the ability and the interest of their students.

  2. Besides, the various opinions collected when we revised the syllabus of the art subject for junior secondary level, reveal that the subject committee and most art teachers agree that students can only produce meaningful creation if they have solid understanding of art knowledge and history of Chinese and Western art.

  3. Moreover, ED encourage teachers to adopt an integrated approach to apply in teaching the three major areas, namely, history, knowledge and creation. This can be achieved through flexible and diversified activities, etc..

Teacher Establishment

  1. The ratio of graduate teachers to non-graduate teaches in the current teacher establishment in Government and subsidised secondary schools is 7:3. The Government has been, depending on the needs of schools and the availability of resources, providing additional graduate teachers to schools, so as to enhance the quality of education. For example :

  • In order to encourage schools to introduce subjects in design and crafts, art and design, domestic science, physical education and music, etc. in senior forms in secondary schools, since 1991/92, each standard secondary school has been allowed to upgrade 4 non-graduate teachers to graduate teachers, in addition to the normal ratio, such that teachers with qualification in the above subjects can be recruited to become the subject teachers. The Government has provided 38 such quotas annually for application by schools in 1991/92, 1993/94, 1995/96 and 1997/98. Schools will normally upgrade the posts after they have recruited the teachers.

  • To implement the pledge in the 1993 Policy Address to enhance the standard of education, each subvented secondary school, irrespective of the number of classes it operates, can upgrade up to 4 non-graduate teachers to graduate teachers by phases commencing 1994/95.

  1. The decision regarding the employment of teachers and the assignment of teachers for different subjects has always rested with schools. Teachers teaching art subjects and other subjects enjoy equal status.

  2. We agree that the qualification and professionalism of teachers need continued upgrading so as to enhance the quality of education. Therefore, in the 1997 Policy Address, we have set the target that all newly recruited teachers should be degree holders and have received teacher training. We are taking gradual steps to achieve the target.

Teacher Qualification

  1. ED is reviewing the current situation on the deployment of non-specialised teachers to teach music and art and craft in primary schools. As schools face difficulties to recruit teachers who have received specialised training in art and crafts, the Chief Executive has announced in the Policy Address in 1998 that on-the-job subject training will be provided to 600 non-specialised teachers annually over the next 7 years to ensure all-round education for students.

Provision of classrooms for art and crafts

  1. The Government has completed the revision of the year 2000 school design in the light of new developments. The changes made, which include the provision of more staff rooms and a multi-media learning room, etc., result in an increase of the total area by 30%. Due to site constraints, we cannot have 2 classrooms for art and craft in schools which have 24 classes or above. When we revise the standard school design in the future, we shall carefully consider the proposal to provide 2 classrooms for art and craft in schools which have 26 classes or above.

21. The Ti-I College is a school which provides training in art and physical education for students with the potential. The additional resources required are provided by the Hong Kong Jockey Club. The achievement of the Ti-I College since its establishment have been well acknowledged. The pilot courses in physical education and art are of reference value to schools. The proposal to establish more schools like the Ti-I College requires social recognition of the needs and additional resources. We shall closely monitor the needs and feasibility to establish schools similar to the Ti-I College.

22. We need to further consider the proposal to build an education resource centre for school art, including its objective, organisation, operation mode, service users and the required resources, etc. However, many organisations currently provide similar services. For example, the HKADC, the Art and Crafts Centre of ED, the Hong Kong Arts Centre, and other organisations under the Urban Services Department and the Regional Services Department (such the Hong Kong Museum of Art, libraries and civic centres, etc.).

23. In the 1997 Review of the Prevocational Schools and Technical Schools, it has been stated clearly that the newly revised prevocational and technical subjects are mainly to imbue students with basic, practical and transferable knowledge and skills. In addition, the new curriculum, when compared with the existing curriculum where those practical/art and crafts subjects account for 40%+2%, those commerce/technology subjects account only for 30%+4%. The teaching time released will be used for teaching languages, mathematics, art, humanities and inter-disciplinary topics. The ED helps schools to achieve the target of this curriculum through providing teaching resources and improving school facilities.

Culture and Tourism

24. The Administration realises that cultural heritage and performances of international scale help attract visitors to Hong Kong. In recent years, the Government has devoted much effort in promoting heritage tourism. The Hong Kong Tourist Association (HKTA) has commissioned a feasibility study on the provision of a new performance venue for international events in Hong Kong. The Administration supports the project. The provision of a world-class state-of-the-art performance venue has been included as one of the initiatives in the 1998 Policy Objective for Home Affairs Bureau. Besides, HKTA has been tasked by Government to set up a Heritage Tourism Task Force to map out the strategy ahead and the initiatives to focus on.

Arts and Culture for the Disabled

25. All along, the Administration advocates equal opportunities for all. We have endeavoured to ensure that people with disabilities enjoy the same rights as other citizens to participate in art and cultural activities. As stipulated in the 1995 White Paper on Rehabilitation, the policy objective in respect of sports and cultural activities for people with disabilities is to assist them ‘to benefit from sports, arts and cultural activities, to develop their talents, and to integrate them into the community by the provision of suitable amenities, training and programmes.’ This objective will be met by providing sporting, artistic and cultural activities in an integrated setting so that people with a disability may have equal opportunities to participate; encouraging the various services to facilitate the participation of people with a disability, and to develop their talents and interests; and providing special facilities where required and as far as practicable.

26. To promote equality of opportunities between persons with and without a disability amongst other objectives, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) was set up by Government in 1996. The Commission works towards its goal through education, promotion, legislation and guidelines etc.

27. It is one of the key tasks specified in the Five-year Strategic Plan of HKADC to implement a fair and open funding policy which respects equal opportunity for all including support for minorities and the disabled. The HKADC treats funding applications for holding arts activities for and by people with a disability in the same manner as any others.

Museum services

28. Please refer to the separate responses from the Municipal Services Departments.

Management of venues and facilities

29. Please refer to the separate responses from the Municipal Services Departments.

Home Affairs Bureau
October 1998