Funds to tackle youth problems

A SUM of up to $5 million is to go towards bettering the education environment for young people, as well as addressing youth problems, especially that of student suicide.

The money goes to the newly formed Home-school Co-operation Committee, which was set up on a recommendation in the Education Commission Report No 5.

The committee aims at bringing schools and families together to promote children's education and improve school administration.

The 15-member committee, chaired by Legislative Councillor Mr Tik Chi-yuen, will be made up of school principals, members of school councils or boards, teachers, parents and Education Department representatives.

They will advise on ways to stimulate, co-ordinate and monitor sustained progress in home-school co-operation.

Later in the year, the committee will carry out other tasks, such as conducting surveys, holding seminars and workshops and producing educational materials.

Besides encouraging the setting up of parent-teacher associations, the committee will advise teacher training institutions on how to incorporate in their courses ideas and skills gained from working with parents.

Mr Dominic Wong Shing-wah, Director of Education, hoped the committee would bring teachers and parents together to work for the common goal of creating a better study environment for young people.

''We have been working hard on tackling student behaviour problems,'' he said. ''But government and school help is not enough. Parents, too, should be in the picture.

''Having a centralised committee between schools and families, with experts and funds provided, will be a great help in tackling our major youth problems.'' Mr Wong said the Education Department had set aside $5 million for the committee this year, of which $2 million would be used to conduct surveys on home-school relationships and parental attitudes.

A sum of $1.5 million would be given to schools coming up with innovative ideas to improve home-school co-operation.

The balance would be spent on multi-media training, publicity, seminars and workshops.

After that, the committee will receive $3 million annually to continue its work.

Committee chairman Mr Tik Chi-yuen said details about the structure and work of the committee would be worked out shortly.