Drastic funding cuts for universities and other Hong Kong education providers will be put before the Legislative Council's education panel on Monday. Universities are likely to take the brunt of the cuts. The Education and Manpower Bureau has proposed slashing the block grant to the University Grants Committee by 10 per cent for 2004-05 to help achieve a cut of 9 per cent in education spending by 2006-07. The 2003-04 education budget is estimated at $61 billion, accounting for 23.8 per cent of total government spending. For the next financial year, the bureau says it must seek overall savings of 1.8 per cent from options that include closing 'high cost and ineffective schools', cutting the bureau's staff by up to 10 per cent, and reviewing subsidies to the English Schools Foundation. It may also hive off activities such as adult education and regulating tutorial schools. The bureau also plans to review the Vocational Training Council.