Education secretary suggests 'win-win' scheme to ease problem of oversupply The Education and Manpower Bureau says teachers could minimise job losses by accepting pay cuts and job-sharing. Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, Permanent Secretary for Education and Manpower, said there could be a win-win situation on the issue of job losses if teachers were willing to face the hard times together. 'If 30 teachers can share 29 posts in a school, the adverse impact on individuals would not be as huge as asking two teachers to share a post,' she said. More than 500 primary teachers were made redundant because of a cut in the number of classes this year. Although the bureau set up recruitment fairs to help the teachers find jobs over the past two months, as many as 210 remain jobless. The problem is expected to worsen in the coming years and is likely to extend to secondary schools. Cheung Man-kwong, legislator and president of Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union, doubted whether Mrs Law's suggestion would be feasible in schools which had to cut a large number of posts. 'In schools which have five or more posts to cut, 30 teachers might have to share as few as 20 jobs. The drastic cut in salaries as a result would put many teachers in tremendous financial difficulties,' he said. Mr Cheung said that the introduction of small classes was along-term solution to the problem of redundant teachers. He also proposed that the government spend $100 million on creating 800 teacher assistant posts to absorb fresh graduates from teacher training institutes. The Hong Kong Institute of Education alone has produced more than 600 new teachers this year. Lee Fu-sing, policy convenor of Hong Kong Subsidised Primary Schools Council, said the government should shoulder full responsibility for the oversupply of teachers as it had wrongly projected school manpower needs several years ago. However, Ho Hon-kuen, vice-president of Education Convergence, said Mrs Law's suggestion was feasible and could prevent the loss of talents in the teaching profession. 'Job sharing is the way to go as the government is too cash-strapped to introduce small classes,' he said. Mr Ho said the school he taught in, Elegantia College in Fanling, has hired five new teachers by asking them to share four posts after deciding they were equally qualified.