Hong Kong’s education sector will receive HK$3.6 billion in funding after a bill was passed today by the Finance Committee.
With 43 votes on yes, three votes no and six abstain, the Committee passed the bill at around 6.05pm. The decision comes after a spout of political drama caused by the unseating of four pan-democratic lawmakers last week.
The funding will be available before the new school term starts in September.
Previous committee meetings were tense as legislators disagreed on how the HK$3.6 billion should be spent. Emotions also ran high as pan-democrats and pro-establishment lawmakers clashed over the court ruling on July 14 that unseated four legislators. Two Finance Committee meetings last week were cancelled because of the chaos after the ruling.
The four lawmakers – “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu Chung-yim, were disqualified due to their behaviour while taking their Legco oaths on October 12 last year.
Finance Committee chairman Chan Kin-por in the morning suspended the meeting twice as some pan-democrats stood up to express anger over the disqualification of the four. Pan-democrat Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, Claudia Mo Man-ching and Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung also asked Chan why additional meetings could not be held after Wednesday.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced the extra HK$5 billion spending on education in early July. The measures included increasing the teacher-to-class ratio by 0.1 for all public primary and secondary schools and providing an annual subsidy of HK$30,000 for students pursuing self-financing undergraduate programmes in Hong Kong.