A $521-million-a-year handout to raise standards in schools was announced yesterday as officials confirmed the scrapping of a controversial test for primary students. The abolition of the 22-year-old Academic Aptitude Test, used to grade the performance of pupils at primary schools, was endorsed by the Executive Council yesterday. The test was supposed to reduce pressure on pupils by testing logic and reasoning rather than academic knowledge, but had led to excessive drilling as schools competed with each other. Pupils joining Primary Six this September will be the first to be spared the test. Antony Leung Kam-chung, chairman of the Education Commission, the Government's think-tank on education policy, said: 'We hope parents can make use of the summer holidays to arrange more extracurricular activities for their children since they don't have to prepare for the test now.' The scrapping of the test was followed by an announcement that primary schools would each be given an extra $550,000 a year and secondary schools an extra $300,000. It is understood primary schools are getting the bigger share because they often have to survive on relatively meagre budgets. The $521 million is coming from $800 million reserved for education reforms pledged in the Budget in March. Secretary for Education and Manpower Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun said: 'We really want schools to channel their energy [from preparing for the test] to enhancing moral education, language proficiency and extra-curricular activities. 'The new money is expected to be used in curriculum development - with the integration of information technology - catering to the diversity of both talented and less-competent students, and boosting language standards.' Applauding the move, the chairman of the concern group Education Convergence, Chow Kwok-kwong, said: 'It's a major improvement for the Government to get rid of all kinds of restrictions by giving the money directly. It's quite a lot of money for primary schools. I hope the newly established regional offices can help them out in utilising the resources adequately.' Yeung Yiu-chung, legislator and president of the Federation of Education Workers, said: 'Schools can make use of the money to hire more clerical workers to free up teachers.' The chairman of the Union of Heads of Aided Schools, Lam Seung-wan, said: 'The policy is even better than the $50 million Quality Education Fund. Schools can really exercise the school-based management concept with flexibility in deciding how to use the money.' But Democrat legislator Cheung Man-kwong, the president of the Professional Teachers' Union, said the problem of large classes had still not been resolved. Following the test's abolition, education workers and parents are still concerned about the new system that will decide which secondary school a Primary Six pupil should be allocated to. An interim model under which a school's performance is judged by the average aptitude test results of pupils from 1997 to 1999 is being considered, but parents and schools have branded it 'unfair'. The results of this year's Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination will be issued to schools and candidates on Friday morning. Candidates can go to their own schools to collect notification. Private candidates will receive their results by post.