Textbook subsidies starting October

Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Issue 807, Page 5
Word count: 418
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

More than 73,000 Macau resident students from local kindergartens, primary and secondary schools will be able to receive an annual textbook subsidy of 1,500 patacas starting early October this year.

The corresponding administrative regulation was gazetted in a Chief Executive dispatch yesterday.

In a press conference addressed by Un Hoi Cheng, director of the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau’s (DSEJ) Social and Educational Support Department, the textbook subsidy scheme is estimated to cost the government around 110 million patacas in the 2009/2010 academic year, which will commence today.

Ms Un also said that about 73,000 to 75,000 students will benefit from the new scheme.

Beginning this academic year each Macau resident student receiving formal education in local kindergartens, primary or secondary schools will be given a one-off annual subsidy of 1,500 patacas for buying textbooks.

Residents who enrol in eligible schools from September 1 to April 30 of the following year in each academic year will still be included in the subsidy scheme.

The scheme aims to “continue to optimise Macau’s education environment and complement with the free education and tuition subsidy systems so as to ease parents’ financial burden”, Ms Un said.

According to the dispatch, DSEJ will start to send out the subsidies in early October based on the student registration information of September given by schools.

Private schools will receive the subsides directly from DSEJ, and then pass them on to their students through autopay within 30 days. In some private schools where they will order and purchase textbooks for their students before classes commence, they will deduct the expenses before sending the rest of the subsidies to the students.

As for public school students, they will directly receive the subsidies from DSEJ through autopay. Ms Un explained that public schools are not allowed to open any bank accounts and thus a different distribution approach has to be used.

Meanwhile, all schools will be required to hand in reports to DSEJ regarding the distribution process.

Ms Un said the median textbook expense in Macau exceeds 1,500 patacas, excluding exercise books.

She said that kindergarten students may spend lesser on textbooks when compared to high school students, but added that parents could use the rest of the subsidies to buy extracurricular books so as to cultivate children’s reading habit.

Since this is the first year to implement the scheme, she said DSEJ will review it at a later time and see if students in different stages of education should be given different amounts of textbook subsidy.

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