The Education & Manpower Bureau has proposed to implement small class teaching in schools with a high concentration of disadvantaged students in the next school year.
In a Legislative Council paper tabled today, the bureau said the proposal will help such children, in line with the Government's pledge to alleviate inter-generational poverty.
It cited overseas research indicating small class teaching has more significant effects on students with weak family support and in their early years of school.
Although the bureau has no conclusion yet on the cost-effectiveness of small class teaching in the local context, it said the scheme is a worthwhile investment.
The bureau proposed to implement the scheme in selected schools with 40% of their Primary 1 to Primary 3 students receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance or full grants under the Student Financial Assistance Scheme.
Schools will be provided with additional resources in the form of a cash grant of $290,000 per annum for each additional class to enable them to split students into small classes of up to 25 pupils for Chinese, English and maths lessons.
Participation will be by invitation, and names will not be disclosed. The scheme will be implemented in eligible schools progressively, starting from P1 in the first year and extending to P2 in 2006-07 and P3 in 2007-08.
The progressive implementation from P1 to P3 takes into account the need for teachers to be given time and support to adapt their teaching strategies and lesson design for a small class setting.
Making reference to student profiles in the 2004-05 school year, the bureau estimates 75 primary schools with P1 classes will meet the 40% threshold.
On the number of small classes an eligible school can operate, the bureau said it is subject to the school's annual student enrolment, and is capped by the number of vacant teaching...