The Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd) has pledged to help 34 of its lecturers laid off last month to find new jobs after the institute's council unanimously approved their dismissal. Speaking after the council's meeting on Wednesday, HKIEd director Professor Ruth Hayhoe said the institute would set up a five-member working group to help the lecturers affected. 'We will open an associate-degree programme on Education and Information Technology next academic year and between five and 10 academic staff will be needed,' she said. Professor Hayhoe said the dismissed staff would be given priority if their qualifications matched the needs of the teaching posts. The lecturers were laid off last month on the grounds that their skills did not match the institute's development plans and that they did not have the necessary academic qualifications.