Parents will have to shoulder some of the costs of forthcoming education reforms even though the Government has set aside $800 million for priority items. The funding will enable an early start to be made on some of the vital areas under reform by the Education Commission. Mr Tsang appealed to the public to shoulder a greater share of the additional costs that the reform package will engender. Concern groups lauded the Government's dedication to education but warned about more costs for parents. 'It has come as a surprise to us,' said the president of the Professional Teachers' Union, Cheung Man-kwong. 'I would have thought we needed to wait another year for the money since the reforms won't be unveiled until September. 'I believe that the most obvious area needing the money is resources to improve students who are falling behind.' Mr Cheung said the unit cost of teaching each child had to be increased to raise standards effectively. 'However, the Government might want to turn to the public to finance more in basic education.' Stephen Hui Chin-yim, chairman of the Subsidised Secondary Schools Council, said: 'It is an assurance from the Government that the reforms will be able to get started once they are endorsed. 'But I'm also worried about the possibility of higher tuition costs at senior secondary level.' Both Mr Cheung and Mr Hui had reservations about an Education Department proposal to have self-financed Secondary Six and Seven places in aided schools. The Government has indicated recently that more post-graduate courses will have to be self-financed. Some universities, such as the University of Hong Kong, are running their continuing education sections as self-financed models. Professor Wong Yuk-shan, chairman of the Education Commission's sub-group on higher education, said: 'To me, the uppermost priority needing resources would be basic education. The $800 million is very little - just enough for the most urgently needed areas. I can see that community colleges will be self-financed or at least partially self-financed. 'However, most education reforms do not require that much money but a change in the mentality of the public.' An overall revamp on education affecting all school levels is expected to be released in September by the Education Commission.