Hong Kong will spend an extra HK$5 billion on education, the city’s new leader said yesterday. In her first question-and-answer session in the Legislative Council, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she would use part of the new funding for the most urgent programmes, such as those that need to be implemented in the next school year starting in September.
The proposals will include creating more regular teaching posts and special educational needs coordinators in primary and secondary schools, as well as offering a HK$30,000 subsidy for students in self-financing tertiary institutions who are currently ineligible for official aid. Students who achieve at least Level 3 in Chinese and English, and at least Level 2 in maths and liberal studies in their HKDSE exam will be eligible for the grant.
Although she suggested setting a range for kindergarten teachers’ salaries in her election promises, Lam said yesterday it would be a work-in-progress. “A considerable amount of time and effort would be needed before the pay scale is ready.”
When asked about scrapping the unpopular BCA (Basic Competency Assessment), she only pledged to review the system.
Lam said she is also determined to improve the relationship between the executive and the legislative branches. But when Lam said she had solicited lawmakers’ opinions about the policies in the next five years, the League of Social Democrats legislator, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, interrupted and shouted: “She hasn’t talked to me yet.”