THE Director of Education, Mr Dominic Wong Shing-wah, called on schools to join the School Management Initiative (SMI) scheme recently. Speaking at the 11th speech day of the New Territories Heung Yee Kuk Tai Po District Secondary School, Mr Wong encouraged schools to take part in the scheme in order to provide flexible and effective education. The SMI scheme, started two years ago by the department, was designed to help schools manage their own finances and affairs more flexibly and to encourage teachers, students and parents to get involved in school management. Under the scheme, each school establishes an SMI committee comprising representatives from the school board, parent-teacher association and student union. So far, 127 primary and secondary schools, including government, aided and private schools, have joined the scheme. The scheme will be extended to special schools next year. ''The number is small considering there are over 1,000 schools altogether in Hong Kong. . We hope more schools will join the scheme soon,'' said Mr Wong. ''Under the scheme, schools can enjoy flexible management and financial arrangement. This benefits schools, students and parents. ''Students and parents can also understand more about the schools' policies and reinforce their communication with teachers and principals.'' Mr Wong said SMI schools also enjoy more freedom in designing the curriculum. ''They can design a curriculum which provides an all-round education and helps to develop their students' potential to the fullest.'' The department hopes to implement the scheme in all schools in the future. The New Territories Heung Yee Kuk Tai Po District Secondary School is among schools planning to join the scheme. Principal Mr Poon Shui-yang said the school was making preparations such as setting up a parent-teacher association. He expects all the work to be finished before the school joins the scheme in the next school year. In his school report, Mr Poon said the school had reinforced civic and moral education in the past year. ''Special moral lessons were added for Forms One to Three students. Six teachers were put in charge. They started discussing the curriculum, teaching approach and materials in the summer.'' Besides, the school had put in a lot of effort to beautify the campus. A campaign was held earlier to make the campus greener. A small plot of grassland with some wooden tables and benches was put in to give a feeling of countryside. ''Students now enjoy a better studying environment. We hope this would promote a sense of belonging among them,'' Mr Poon said.