Hong Kong schools

Hong Kong groups call for review of pay scales for primary school educators

Issues include longer working hours after switch to whole-day school system and difference in salary compared to secondary school counterparts

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 October, 2017, 9:28am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 October, 2017, 9:28am

Four groups representing the primary school sector have called for a thorough review of educators’ pay scales ahead of next week’s policy address by Hong Kong’s leader.

The four organisations, which included the Subsidised Primary School Council and Hong Kong Aided Primary School Heads Association, raised the issue before their meeting with education minister Kevin Yeung Yun-hung on Tuesday morning.

They asked for fairer measures for educators to be included in Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s maiden policy address, which will be delivered on October 11. The groups said the pay scale for primary school teachers had not been revised for more than 20 years.

“The salary of school heads has not been reviewed after the primary school system changed from half-day to whole-day,” said Cheung Yung-pong, chairman of the Hong Kong Primary School Leaders Association, one of the groups involved.

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The organisations argued that primary school teachers had been treated unfairly, saying that their work requirements were on par with those of their secondary schools counterparts, who were more highly paid.

Cheung said working hours for teachers had been extended after the change to whole-day classes.

“I can’t see any differences in our job nature or work pressure ... why are [pay scales] different for jobs under the same system and requirements?” asked Raymond Lai Tsz-man, chairman of the Hong Kong Aided Primary School Heads Association.

A primary school headmaster is paid at most HK$88,020 a month, equivalent to the maximum monthly salary for a secondary school vice-principal. The head of a secondary school could be paid up to HK$121,985 a month.

Cheung said the government could refer to secondary school teacher pay scales when reviewing the salary structure for primary school heads and teachers.

Meanwhile, the groups also called for the introduction of executive officer posts to ease the burden of office administration work in primary schools.