Teachers wait impatiently for fulfilment of pledges

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 October, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 October, 1998, 12:00am

TEACHERS were jubilant when Mr Tung made a commitment to quality education last year - but some schools are still waiting for their expatriate teachers and students are stuck in big classes, studying in half-day sessions.

A plan to hire at least one native English-speaking teacher for each secondary school has yet to be implemented successfully.

Mr Tung also pledged to speed up whole-day primary school operations. By 2002, he said, about 60 per cent of students should be learning in whole-day schools.

Sites have been identified but, until the 72 new schools are built, students must make do in larger classes. Seven major education bodies have criticised present conditions, saying the big classes go against quality education. They look forward to a timetable for the full implementation of whole-day schooling in the Policy Address.

The $5-billion Quality Education Fund - to sponsor innovative projects - has granted about $300 million. But most of the projects are small-scale student activities such as camping or carnivals.

Professional Teachers' Union vice-president Wong Hak-lim said: 'I don't expect a big increase in education spending amid the economic downturn. I just hope the Government will keep the promises it made last year. So far progress has been unsatisfactory.'