Close collaboration among schools, tertiary institutions and the Education Department was needed for the pursuit of excellence in education, Director of Education Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said. He was speaking at the International Conference on Rejuvenating Schools Through Partnership organised by the Hong Kong Institute of Education's Research Centre and the Chinese University of Hong Kong's Faculty of Education. The conference was sponsored by the Quality Education Fund and supported by the Education Department. The conference aimed to provide a forum for educators to exchange views on school policy. Apart from local educators, experts on education reforms from Asia, Australia, Europe and North America shared their insights and experience with more than 100 participants. Officiating at the conference's opening ceremony, Mr Cheung said that to see positive results, partnerships should be established among parents, teachers, students, university educators and community leaders. He detailed targets to create favourable conditions in schools which would enable them to face new challenges. Mr Cheung also said the Education Department would provide grants for schools to lighten teachers' workload and create regional education offices which would offer schools a one-stop service. Conference chairman Professor John Lee Chi-kin said the forum's message was that all players in the education system could become good partners to help rejuvenate schools and promote quality education. 'There is a growing movement for schools to become involved in partnerships with key players in the system to enhance the quality of school education and make themselves of the maximum relevance in the 21st century,' Professor Lee said. He said one of the strategies proposed by the Education Commission for reforming Hong Kong's education system is to forge partnerships between schools and different sectors of society to provide students with diversified learning activities and to make better use of the support that the bodies can offer.