The Education Department has failed to find a single candidate to fill any of its 145 positions to head English panels in primary schools. Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa unveiled the idea of the panels in his Policy Address last year. The idea would be to put one teacher in charge of English at each school to devise ways of improving standards, while also rewarding teachers who had performed well in language benchmark tests. The positions were reserved for teachers scoring at least Level 4 in all five papers in the English benchmark examination in the next five years. Currently, the posts are held by senior teachers but they do not receive extra money or promotions, despite the extra duties. The Education Department confirmed its promotion board had not found any suitable candidates for the post at the 41 government primary schools. And Lam Seung-wan, of the Union of Heads of Aided Primary Schools of Hong Kong, said no English teachers had been chosen from about 800 subsidised schools. Under the benchmark test policy launched in March, English-language teachers are required to attain at least Level 3 in all five papers in the exam by 2005. Those who have a degree in English or a related discipline and have education training can apply for an exemption. Critics said some teachers would not bother to sit the test just to enhance their status. Legislator for the education constituency Cheung Man-kwong said: 'Many of the well-qualified English teachers have been exempted from the test and there's no way to prove if they are up to Level 4 or not.' Godwin Lai Kam-tong, general-secretary of the Government Educational Staff Union, said: 'The fact that no teachers are qualified for the post doesn't mean their English standards are poor.' Education Department senior education officer Joseph Chui Chak-ming said: 'We couldn't find any candidates who have obtained at least Level 4 in the exam in this batch. We're not too disappointed because we have a few years to go.'