About 40 primary teachers took to the streets yesterday in protest against what they say is unfair treatment that led to their redundancies. The protest organiser, the Professional Teachers' Union, said 94 teachers from government and aided primary schools had yet to find teaching jobs after being laid off because of shrinking roll numbers. 'It's the end of July now. They feel very helpless,' said Chan Hung, an officer of the union's rights and complaints section. Some of the 94 teachers were made redundant after their two-year contracts ended this year. The two-year contracts came about when the government set aside HK$550 million to employ 700 teachers to prepare for small-class teaching, which started for Primary One classes in the 2009-10 academic year. The remaining teachers were made redundant due to a reduced number of classes at some schools in the forthcoming academic year. Chan said there were now more than 200 surplus teachers. He said 40 to 50 schools had cut their class numbers for the 2010-11 academic year by one to three. 'Some redundant teachers have been absorbed back into the education system as there is natural loss induced by retirement and other reasons every year at schools,' he said. The union demanded that teaching contracts be extended until 2014-15, when small-class teaching will be applied to Primary Six. 'They were employed for the preparation of small-class teaching,' he said. 'There's still a lot to do as the policy only commenced in 2009. There's no way all the preparation work ... can be done in two years.' A small class has 25 students, compared to 30 for normal classes. There are 463 government and aided primary schools, of which 297 began small-class teaching in the 2009-10 academic year. In 2010-11, the number of schools that conduct small-class teaching will rise to 318, or 69 per cent of the 463 schools. 'There will be more schools which will switch to small-class teaching, so the surplus teachers should be retained,' Chan said. 'Teaching is a profession that values continuity. Job stability is important to a teacher's well-being.' One of the 94 redundant teachers, a 50-year-old who teaches Chinese and maths, has been in the profession for more than two decades. She started teaching at a Tai Po school in 2008 after her previous school laid her off due to shrinking classes. 'The Tai Po school also shrank class numbers in 2009, so I switched to a Tuen Mun school to teach,' she said. 'But the Tuen Mun school has just made me redundant as it also shrank class numbers in the forthcoming academic year. 'I feel sad that I have to keep looking for jobs year after year. It's hard to develop a sense of belonging to the school if you keep switching to another one year after year. It also makes me worried and nervous whenever September approaches.' The Education Bureau said it had introduced a series of measures to deal with redundancies. 'We encouraged schools to flexibly tackle applications for unpaid leave by teachers,' a spokesman said. 'We also appealed to schools and school sponsoring bodies to try their best to fill vacancies with the redundant teachers. The vacancies include those that are created after a teacher goes on study leave.'