CLOSER ties between school and home will be enjoyed by another 50 schools, once the Education Department has processed applications for funds to set up parent-teacher associations. The department's Committee on Home-School Co-operation, set up in February, aims at bringing schools and families together to promote children's education and improve school administration. This year, the department will give the committee $5 million, part of which will be given to schools as grants to set up parent-teacher associations. A sum of $1.5 million will go to schools that come up with innovative ideas for improving co-operation between school and home. The committee received 69 appeals for funding in the first round of applications that ended last month. Of these, 50 were applications for the $1,000 funding per school to set up a parent-teacher association. Ten schools asked for a sum of $5,000 or less to hold activities to promote co-operation between parents and teachers, while nine schools applied for sums ranging from $10,000 to $30,000 for long-term development projects. At present, only 140 schools (less than 10 per cent of Hong Kong schools) have a parent-teacher association. Educationists say the small number reflects badly on Hong Kong education, pointing out that a large majority of parents had no say in their children's education. The committee's chairman, legislator Mr Tik Chi-yuen, said the response from schools was encouraging, and that at least 50 more schools would have their own parent-teacher associations in the new school year if all applications were successful. Mr Tik added, however, that some of the schools that had applied for activities and long-term project support did not seem to fully understand the details of the funding. Also, the application deadline happened to fall around the time of the school exams, and many teachers and principals had not had time to come up with ideas for activities or projects. Mr Tik said a sub-committee was processing the applications, and he believed they would all be passed without any great problems. The deadline for the second round of applications for funding is October 15. The Committee on Home-School Co-operation has also just commissioned the University of Hong Kong for a $1.5 million research project on the relationship between home and school.