THE number of school social workers will be increased in a bid to tackle the problem of student suicides, said the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Elizabeth Wong Chien Chi-lien. Mrs Wong side-stepped a question from Mr Yeung Sum on whether the public should envisage the provision of a social worker for every school only after 1997. ''In view of the fact that the Government has allocated $2 billion for a housing subsidy scheme to the sandwich class, what about the provision of one social worker to every school? Has the Government got such a plan? Or is it going to achieve this only after 1997?'' Mr Yeung asked. Without answering directly, Mrs Wong stressed that student suicides were a complex problem that should be dealt with by parents, teachers and school social workers. But she promised the Government would improve the manning level of school social workers from this year. ''We will continue to, and will endeavour to, improve the manning level of the school social service by phases from this year onwards,'' she said. Meanwhile, the Government will consider using administrative measures to help kindergarten teachers get higher pay, as proposed in the pay scale for trained professionals, said the Director of Education, Mr Dominic Wong Sing-wah. United Democrat Mr Cheung Man-kwong said only one-third of the trained professionals would continue as kindergarten teachers. Most would switch to nurseries or child care centres for higher pay. Mr Wong said the Government had no control over which field the kindergarten teachers choose as a career. He said the Government had proposed increasing the pay for kindergarten teachers to encourage them to stay in the profession. ''About 14 to 16 per cent of the kindergarten teachers are actually receiving their salary according to our proposed pay scale, although it is non-statutory,'' he said. Meanwhile, legislators failed in their bid to ask for an increase in the subsidy for workers undergoing retraining programmes. The Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr John Chan Cho-chak, said the matter fell under the ambit of the Retraining Board and it was not a decision for the branch to make. Legislators were also told that only 11.8 per cent of last year's medical expenses on Vietnamese boat people had been recovered from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The expenses amounted to $31.99 million with about $3.79 million having been recovered. According to the Director of Health, Dr Lee Shiu-hung, the money recovered was for drugs, instruments, X-rays and laboratory investigations. The amount did not cover medical staff expenses, he said.