THE Government crackdown on counterfeit computer software has finally hit Hong Kong secondary schools where teachers are found to be using pirated software in school computers. A wave of panic swept secondary schools recently following a rumour that a computer software company was considering suing both a government and a subsidised secondary school for illegal use of their software for school administrative work. Sources said that certain schools had hurriedly deleted pirated programmes from their systems. 'The problem was that some teachers had loaded their own computer software into school computers to facilitate their work, such as marking and printing out name lists, but had forgotten to delete the programmes after use,' said John Fan Kam-ping, chairman of the Hong Kong Subsidised Secondary Schools' Council. 'The suing was only a rumour . No schools are being taken to court.' However, in response to the recent show of concern, the council summoned a meeting at which three suggestions were tabled to tackle the problem: That teachers in both subsidised and government schools be advised not to load school computers with unauthorised software; That schools regularly monitor computers being used for administrative purposes; That a logbook be kept for a record of the teachers who use the computers. At present, most secondary schools still use administrative software they have bought or designed themselves, and not obtained from government sources. For instance, Pui Ching Middle School, which has an advanced computer system for staff and students, uses programmes designed by the staff and tailormade for the school's computer network. Mr Fan said the Education Department would be advancing $900,000 for the installation of six computer software packages - three Chinese Windows, three Chinese Winwords, one Chinese Excel - in about 300 secondary schools. The programmes are for administrative work, not for the students' use. 'Even the Education Department cannot keep us supplied, as the local software supplier the government has a contract with is running out of the programmes we need,' Mr Fan said. 'The department has already bought the 'overall copyright' for all secondary schools to use the six programmes.' Computer experts welcome the suggestions and the Education Department's action, saying it reflects that schools are now more aware of copyright infringement.