By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The major goals of the territory’s non-higher education sector over the next decade will be to increase students’ quality and competitiveness as well as to cultivate talents to support Macau’s sustainable development.
The Non-Higher Education Committee held its first plenary meeting chaired by Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Cheong U at the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ) yesterday.
During the meeting, DSEJ deputy director Leong Lai introduced to the committee the opinions and suggestions previously collected for the Macau non-higher education 10-year development plan.
Leong told reporters after the closed-door meeting that the suggestions include placing education as one of the major development projects of Macau, reserve land for education purposes, accelerate the schedule to increase tuition subsidies and free education allowances, raise teachers’ professional development subsidies, provide retirement protection for private school teachers, as well as improve the salary gap between ranks.
A special working group will be formed to work on the amendments of the draft plan.
Leong said the committee will discuss the revised draft again in December and after that it will be disclosed for public consultation.
In addition, the deputy director said it is hoped that by 2020 the number of teachers who have teacher qualification can be raised to over 90 percent among kindergartens and primary schools and over 80 percent among secondary schools.
In the 2008/2009 academic year, the figures were respectively 86.1 percent and 70.8 percent.
The DSEJ also hopes to reduce the number of students who are unable to be promoted to the next grade in primary and junior high schools, promote small-sized classes and development of gifted education, and also to enhance the enrolment rate of senior high school students.
Moreover, Leong Lai said the consultation for the formal education curriculum framework will be finished this month, and the DSEJ is contacting local private schools to encourage them to join the pilot program so that they can try operating the framework in the campus in the next academic year.
The program includes increasing the number of school days from 180 to 195 and also cutting down the number of class hours per week. The DSEJ will offer subsidies to the participating schools.