Legislators yesterday said proposed revisions to the pay package for native English-speaking teachers were not a long-term solution for the high attrition rate. The government was warned that rising housing costs would outpace the suggested allowance and was urged to look for alternatives to raise English standards. The revised pay package, which will cost an extra $46 million a year, was discussed by the Legislative Council's education panel yesterday. Permanent Secretary for Education and Manpower Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun agreed the revisions would not guarantee the attrition rate would be greatly reduced, saying the administration would review the effects after a year. 'We hope the revised remuneration package can help retain more people ... Every year we hire a lot of people but at the same time, many people leave the job,' she said. The revisions, the result of negotiation between education officials and NETs representatives, include increasing the housing allowance to $12,950 and paying retention bonuses to teachers serving two years of continuous service. The allowance, which is meant to reflect the higher housing costs and other additional costs faced by expatriates, was cut to $10,500 from $13,000 for half of all NETs a year ago and for the rest last month. Teachers with at least three years' experience would receive a bonus of 5 per cent of salary paid monthly on top of earnings, while those staying for the fifth year would receive a 10 per cent bonus, subject to school management appraisals. The turnover rate this year was 46 per cent in primary schools and 53 per cent in secondary, the highest since NETs were introduced to primary and secondary schools in 2002 and 1997 respectively. The government had expected turnover would be 20 per cent. Mrs Law cited a bureau survey that found 81 per cent of primary NETs and 65 per cent of secondary ones enjoyed teaching in Hong Kong. More than 60 per cent of all respondents said they enjoyed working with local teachers. Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, of the Article 45 Concern Group, said the package was not a long-term solution to the problem because rents were expected to go up further. In the long term, having to increase the allowance to keep up with rising costs would make the NET scheme more expensive. 'There are many [local people] whose English standard is good enough to teach in schools,' she said. 'The government should explore different channels to solve the language problem.' Mrs Law agreed such people could help enhance the language environment but they could not replace career teachers. The administration will seek Finance Committee backing to introduce the changes this school year.