Time ripe for an English accounting
With reference to 'If the NET scheme is going to survive, it needs a total overhaul', I have been a school English teacher (SET - acting as bridge between NETs and school management) for five years and served in one secondary school, two primary schools and worked with four NETs.
As a teacher of English, I think the NET scheme is very useful, opening opportunities for communication and exchange in English in the school. In my experience, both the local English teachers (LET) and NETs have found the experience of working together both beneficial for our teaching and professional development.
I agree with Craig Boswell and Lee Weston that the government must take a serious look at what is causing this exodus of our NETs because the NET is certainly one of the invaluable assets of English language teaching in Hong Kong. A regular review of the remuneration package against the current cost of living is certainly necessary, yet I would suggest that the difference in pay between the NETs and LETs can be quite sensitive as both do about the same job.
Apart from financial problems, we must also mention the working conditions of individual NETs within schools. Due to the tide of education reforms and the downsizing pressure on schools due to the continuous drop in the birthrate, the workload on teachers in Hong Kong is constantly increasing. A NET has certainly experienced the same work pressure as all the other local teachers do. English language is a curriculum core in Hong Kong education.
After devoting so much time and human resources, we are asking for results. It is widely accepted that the NET scheme was a good thing for our students. Yet, how can it work to its best?
Primary school English teacher
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