A NEW co-operative programme where schools will meet to pool ideas and skills promises to bring about better overall school management and development in Hongkong. The programme ''Towards a Better School Management'' (TABS) will give staff of different schools a forum in which to discuss common problems and exchange ideas at regular meetings, seminars and workshops. A preparatory committee, comprising 12 secondary aided, government and pre-vocational schools, was set up in April last year. Educational and youth affairs experts from the Education Department, the University of Hongkong and Chinese University have also been invited to advise. Next month the committee meets to decide whether TABS should be formalised and extended to serve more schools. Dr Alex Fung Chi-wah, chairman of the preparatory committee, said several schools had common problems but were prevented from meeting to discuss them because of the ''traditional individual school policy''. ''It would be in the interests of all if we sat down together, talked about our various difficulties, and tried to achieve an effective, efficient school model,'' said Dr Fung, a member of the Education Commission. Four sub-committees under TABS will study counselling and guidance, teaching and learning, school management and staff development. The participation of the 12 schools was just a start, Dr Fung said. He hoped more schools would join so that TABS could extend its scope, depending on funding. ''We aim at a long-term programme, with continuity,'' he said. At present the committee is financed by the Education Department and other school sponsoring bodies. Last year, the Education Department granted $70,000 to the committee to run its programmes.