Two educational subsidies to be increased this academic year

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Issue 511, Page 4
Word count: 441
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The education department will submit to the Chief Executive a proposal to increase the amount of free educational allowances and tuition subsidies in order to help both schools and parents cope with soaring inflation in Macau.

According to the chief of the social and educational aids department of the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ), Un Hoi Cheng at a press conference yesterday, the proposal was the second time this year following January as a response to the inflation rate registered in Macau.

The education committee was yesterday proposed the increase of free education allowance to kindergartens and primary schools from 480,000 patacas to 500,000 patacas per class; junior high schools from 650,000 patacas to 680,000 patacas per class; and senior high schools from 750,000 patacas to 790,000 patacas per class.

As for students who go to schools that do not receive free a educational allowance, the DSEJ proposed an increase of 1,000 patacas in tuition subsidies for both kindergarten and primary school and also high school students.

Thus, each kindergarten or primary school student will receive 9,000 patacas and high school student will get 11,000 patacas.

Ms Un said the proposal would be submitted to the Chief Executive for approval after going through to the education committee.

Should the increases be adopted, the effective date will go back to September 1, 2008 for the academic year 2008/2009, and schools and students will then be back paid the adjusted amounts, Ms Un added.

The last time when the allowance and subsidies were raised in January this year, the DSEJ came out with the proposal according to the 5.6 percent inflation rate in 2007.

However, Ms Un said according to the government statistics in the first and second quarters of 2008, the inflation rate jumped respectively to 9.1 percent and 8.9 percent.

As well, the latest figure in September registered at 8.43 percent.

In order to ensure schools have “conditions in enhancing and optimising teaching environments and also to alleviate the financial burden of parents whose children are studying in non-free educational allowance schools”, Ms Un said the DSEJ suggested the adjustments which would be in force for the current academic year.

As for the subsidy amounts in the academic year 2009/2010, she said further changes could be made according to next year’s economic conditions in Macau.

According to the DSEJ, the SAR government will have to spend an additional 40 million patacas and 12 million patacas respectively on the free educational allowance and tuition subsidies if the proposal is passed.

The total expenditures for the two educational aids after adjustments will cost the government 1.14 billion patacas in the year 2008/2009.

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