The exam authority will give out HK$2 million in performance bonuses again this year after being criticised last year for shelling out HK$7 million.
Tong Chong-sze, secretary general of the Examinations and Assessment Authority, said yesterday that about HK$2 million would be given out to about 40 of the best performing employees - some 10 per cent of its total staff - as performance bonuses.
The bonuses, which are about two weeks' to one month's salary, will be disbursed in two stages. The first instalment was already paid in January.
The latest bonus announcement comes after the selffinanced authority came under fire for giving 400 employees - some 90 per cent of its staff - a one-off bonus last year that totalled HK$7 million. That amounted to about 1.3 per cent of its total expenditure.
According to the authority, the one-off bonus was aimed at retaining staff amid a high turnover during the academic reform in which two public exams - the first year of the Diploma of Secondary Education and the last year of the A-level exams were held concurrently in 2012.
Tong added that the authority was commissioning a consultant next month to review its long-term financial model, planning, human resources and the performance-based bonus system.
The authority had a reserve of about HK$200 million, he said, but due to a decline in the number of students taking the DSE in coming years, it was reviewing the cost of the exam.
"If we really need to increase the fee, we'll try to ensure that the rise will be affordable for parents - that means, within 1 to 2 per cent," said Tong. "But at the same time, we want to ensure that the increase is sufficient so that students taking the DSE in future will not be hit with a much bigger increase."