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Hong Kong

Teaching Profession

Qualifications to teach in Hong Kong schools vary according to the level of teaching. Until September 2001, the minimum qualification to teach kindergarten was completion of S5 with two or more passes on the HKCEE, one of which had to be in either Chinese language or Chinese literature. In September 2001, the minimum number of passes was raised to five, including both Chinese and English languages. In 1999-2000, about 54 percent of the 8,855 kindergarten teachers were qualified kindergarten trained (QKT) and another 19 percent were in training. A person must take 360 hours of in-service training offered by the HKIEd to receive the QKT endorsement.

Only about 15 percent of primary teachers held university degrees in 1999-2000, but the vast majority had received professional teacher training. By 2004-2005 all the teaching programs at HKIEd will offer the Certificate of Education (CEd) university degree. Students with the HKCEE can enter HKIEd and take a three-year program leading to the CEd, the general qualification for teaching in primary schools in the future. Students who possess the HKAL can take a two-year program to get the CEd. Secondary school teachers are also trained at the HKIEd for their CEd. Those with degrees from a university but without teacher training take a year-long postgraduate course at HKIEd, UHK, CUHK, or BU to qualify for a postgraduate certificate in education. In 1999-2000, of a total of 24,453 secondary school teachers, 72 percent were graduates with degrees, while another 10 percent had special teacher training.

The HKIEd was created in 1994 by statute that combined Northcote College of Education, Grantham College of Education, Sir Robert Black College of Education, the Hong Kong Technical Teachers' College, and the Institute of Language in Education. In 1997, HKIE became fully funded by the government under the sponsorship of the UGC. Besides the CEd, HKIEd offers a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) and Bachelor of Education for primary teachers. By 1999-2000 HKIEd was offering more than 50 courses and had nearly 10,000 students. HKIEd also has added a School of Creative Arts, a School of Sciences and Technology, a School of Early Childhood Education, a School of Languages in Education, and a School of Foundations in Education.

Masters- and doctoral-level degrees are prerequisites for most full time, university teaching positions. Like universities in the West, graduate level students also teach. To encourage postgraduate research in all fields, the government is increasing its positions for postgraduate research by 11 percent each academic year between 2001 and 2004.

The Hong Kong Professional Teachers Union (PTU) represents more than 60,000 teachers, or 90 percent of all teachers from kindergarten through university. It is active in all aspects of education, including protecting academic freedom, offering teacher workshops, publishing newsletters to keep teachers informed. In addition, the PTU sponsors services such as a cooperative supermarket, an optometric center, a dental center, and health project medical center.

Salaries for teachers vary greatly from primary to university level. In 1999, a full time academic professor near the top of the pay scale made about US$190,000 annually. A senior lecturer/reader with several years experience makes around US$125,000. The pay for an assistant lecturer/lecturer varies from US$50,000 to US$120,000. Primary and secondary school teachers with several years experience average around US$42,000 annually, but the scale varies considerably with experience. A teacher/administrator/coordinator position pays more, as much as US$60,000 annually. In 2000, the government was recruiting secondary school teachers for its native English-speaking teacher scheme (NET) for salaries ranging from US$26,000 to more than US$70,000, depending on qualifications. All of these full-time positions offer health and retirement benefits.

Additional topics

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceHong Kong - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundation, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education