It has been almost 20 years since the Education Department proposed the Direct Subsidy Scheme(DSS) in Hong Kong. In 1988,, the Education Commission Report No. 3 proposed the DSS in a bid to build a strong private sector in the provision of education and offer more choices to the parents. It is good to strengthen the private school sector in the current education system of Hong Kong, but there is also a growing concern in the society about the impact of the scheme brought to the education system. This essay is going to outline the rationale,effects,features,advantage and constrains of the scheme.
After the introduction of the 9-year free and compulsory eduction scheme, the Hong Kong government was obliged to provide education for all eligible children. Due to insufficient places in government and aided schools, the government also implemented the Bought Place Scheme under which places were bought from the private sector to satisfy the unmet demands. However, under BPS, the government were not able to provide places due to their limited capacity to take up all eligible students, failed to provide quality education or even unable to lift up those private schools’ standards to attract better students and ultimately had to be gradually phased out by the Government.
Moreover, the BPS was unsatisfactory arrangement for all parties. Due to limited resources, BPS schools were generally inferior to government and aided schools, for example the unbalanced class size, ratio of graduate to non-graduate teachers not in proportion etc. All these factors affect the quality of education that students received.
In order to become the strong and independent private sector in the education system, the DSS has few features. If the school wants to be admitted into the DSS, the school must reach the standard of government and aided schools. The mode of operation should be unisessional. The class size should not exceed 40 pupils for Secondary 1 to 5 and 30 pupils for Secondary 6 and 7, teachers should be qualified teachers registered with the ED, the teacher to class ratio should be, at a minimum, 1.3 teachers per class for Secondary 1 to 5 and 2 teachers per class for Secondary 6 and 7 and the ratio of graduate to non-graduate teachers should be at least 7:3.
The government and aided schools need to follow many guidelines on curriculum set by the Education Department, DSS has the high autonomy. They can set their own curriculum based on the students they admitted. The admission of students under the DSS is not limited by geographical restriction. Finally, the financing of DDS schools would rely on its own set school fee and government subsidy. DSS schools are free to set their school fee, and the amount was set up to the decision of the schools
The introduction of DSS raise the overall standard of private schools as it imposes the requirement that schools must have attained the standard of government and aided schools in order to be admitted into the DSS. Apart from those traditional branded schools attributing to this trend of privatization of education, there are also some less famous schools turning to DSS so that they can better cater the special needs of their original students and have new sources of applicants by restructuring their custom curricula and syllabus.
Improvement of private school’s image
Under the DSS scheme, schools are needed to elevate their standard to that of government and aided schools in order to apply for becoming DSS schools. In addition to the policy direction by the government, the applying school could charge school fee on top of the government subsidy. This increase in resources would help to contribute to the improvement of facilities and teaching standard, thus...