Lawmakers yesterday urged the administrators of the government's Quality Education Fund to tighten their record-keeping and fund-allocation procedures to avoid being seen as biased towards pro-establishment educators. Established in 1998 with capital of HK$5 billion, the fund supports community initiatives that promote quality education. Administered by the Education Bureau, between 1998 and August last year it granted HK$3.6 billion for 7,434 projects. But in a Public Accounts Committee hearing yesterday, lawmakers urged tighter procedures for screening applications as well as better project monitoring. A Director of Audit report released last month found that in 2007-08, 53 per cent of 1,613 grant recipients did not submit their reports until the fund's secretariat issued reminders. Twelve per cent required a second reminder, and another 12 per cent required a final reminder. The audit report recommended that the education minister improve project monitoring, and consider giving recipients 'unsatisfactory' labels which should be taken into account if they applied for further grants. Accounting sector lawmaker Paul Chan Mo-po said: 'My overall impression is that you're very relaxed about the whole process ... regarding project monitoring as a whole, you need to tighten up.' Starry Lee Wai-king, a Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong lawmaker, also demanded better monitoring. Wong Yuk-man, of the League of Social Democrats, noted that there was no information as to what type of education institutions were successful in their applications, and what types were rejected. 'At the moment, there is no way for us to assess how you grant projects,' Mr Wong said. 'I'm very worried whether you approve an application due to political considerations. What types of schools are getting the funds? Is it that those promoting national education are getting funds, and schools which hold June 4 seminars do not?' Democrat Andrew Cheng Kar-foo added: 'While it may be true that in your heart you are trying to be fair, you may give the impression you are not' because of the lack of records. Permanent Secretary for Education Raymond Wong Hung-chiu said board members were independent frontline educators, and it had never received complaints of bias. Deputy Secretary for Education Michelle Wong Yau Wai-ching said there were strict application procedures, but the bureau did not want to make it difficult to apply.