A $1.5-MILLION research project will start next week in an effort to improve co-operation between parents and teachers. Hongkong University, which outbid five other tenderers, signed the contract yesterday for the research commissioned by the Education Department's Committee on Home-School Co-operation. ''This is a very important research because at present there is limited information about parent-teacher associations in Hongkong, which is important in improving students' development,'' said the committee's chairman, legislator Tik Chi-yuen. ''We hope the research will give direction on what the committee can do to enhance home-school co-operation.'' An Assistant Director of Education, Tsui See-ming, said the research would form the basis of future policy on home-school co-operation. The first part of the research - a series of group discussions with headmasters, teachers, parents and other parties - will start on Thursday. Discussion results will determine the orientation of 16 main questionnaires proposed for 190 kindergarten, 145 primary, and 115 secondary schools, which represent a quarter of the schools in Hongkong. School managers and heads, teachers, parents and other parties will be asked about practices, feelings, experiences, expectations and barriers for the promotion of home-school co-operation. There will also be studies on the 140 parent-teacher associations in Hongkong and some of the special features in schools for promoting co-operation. A member of the research team, Dr Shen Shir-ming, called for the co-operation of the parties involved and said a hotline had been set up to receive public ideas and information for the research. The research is expected to be completed by February and a progress report will be published in November.