DAB held a Roundtable Forum on “The Transparency in the Usage of the Fees for Extracurricular Activities”, chaired by Legislative Councilor and DAB Spokesperson on Education Horace Cheung, at the Legislative Council Complex today (October 12). In attendance were Chairman of the Committee on Home-School Co-operation Mr. Henry Tong, President of the Federation of Parent-Teacher Associations of the Central and Western District Limited (FPTA) Mr. Benny Ding, Central and Western District FPTA advisor Ms. Lai Bik-mei, Kwun Tong FPTA Chairperson Ms. Theresa But, Yau Tsim Mong FPTA Chairperson Mr. Wong Cheung, Southern District FPTA Chairperson Ms. Rikki Lau, Eastern District FPTA Chairman Mr. Jao Ming and North District FPTA Chairman Mr. Ray Hau — these guests shared their valuable opinion on their views and experience in the actual execution of the guidelines on usage of school fees for extracurricular activities.
Legislative Councilor Horace Cheung said that all guests agreed that the majority of primary and secondary schools followed the stringent rules of accounts management and tender guidelines laid down by the Education Bureau (EDB); and that the recently made known mismanagement by one primary school does not reflect how finances are managed at the vast majority of schools in the HKSAR. However, suggestions were put forward on ways of enhancing the standard of school-based management. Our key suggestions are as follows:
1. Strengthen the training of school managers and put out simplified guidelines.
Currently, the EDB has many different and detailed guidelines and requirements for the financial management, tendering and bidding procedures. Our guests generally agreed that school managers (including both parent managers and teacher managers) should undergo a set period of training to increase their knowledge of financial management in schools. The EDB should consider setting up a system of praise to encourage those school managers who have already undergone the training. At the same time, the EDB should provide simplified guidelines and checklists on tender and quotation procedures as reference for parents, teachers and school managers so they can recognise violations at an early stage.
2. Increase professional support and set up a school manager talent pool.
School managers need to deal with complicated legal and accounting issues while the expectations placed on them by parents and society increase with time. Some guests pointed out that the EDB could recommend that sponsoring bodies invite and appoint legal and accounting professionals as independent or sponsoring body school managers and strengthen the management of schools. The EDB should collaborate with professional bodies and promote professionals who wish to serve society to be independent managers and improve the standard of school-based management.
3. Strengthen the training courses for parent managers. FPTAs and parent managers should play the role of good “gatekeeper.” Currently, the EDB provides five free training courses for all FPTA members, one of which includes training for parent managers. Some guests suggested that the EDB increase the finance administration content in the training provided to parent managers. At the same time, the EDB should cooperate with school heads associations and various FPTAs to organise training and advanced training courses for FPTA members and parent managers, and encourage more FPTA members and parent managers to participate in and thereby strengthen their ability to facilitate parent-school cooperation.
Media Inquiries: Legislative Councilor Horace Cheung (9681 8757)