A scheme to help young schoolchildren handle behavioural and emotional problems has been shelved because of a lack of money. Two primary schools with more than 1,000 pupils that have taken part in a pilot scheme for three years are losing the service. Professional social workers will be unavailable this academic year. The Hong Kong Christian Service said yesterday it had failed to secure government money to continue the project. Its application for about $3 million from the Quality Education Fund to continue and extend the project to about six primary schools this academic year was rejected last month. Director Ng Shui-lai said he was upset because the scheme had proved useful for children and teachers. About 60 per cent of students at Kei Wah Primary School in Wong Tai Sin and Kei Shun Primary School in Kwun Tong - the two in the pilot scheme - were taught how to handle emotional and other personal problems. And 78 per cent of parents and 64 per cent of teachers were satisfied with the advice given by social workers. The $5 billion Quality Education Fund was endorsed by Tung Chee-hwa in his Policy Address last year. Schools and education bodies can apply for funding, which has no ceiling. Some educationalists have criticised allocation of funding as unfair and lacking clear criteria. About $300 million has been granted. Mr Ng demanded the Government channel more resources to the primary sector, making social workers available to every primary school. He estimated it would cost the Government about $100 million. At present, only secondary schools have trained social workers, with one worker looking after two to three schools. Primary schools have only 'discipline masters'. 'Youth problems are getting more serious,' Mr Ng said. 'Many of the problems begin when children are in primary schools. These problems have been overlooked and not properly handled. 'The Government should review the need for social work services in primary schools.'