Liaison with the EDB for matters relating to the NET Schemes is undertaken by two organisations: The HK Primary
Native-speaking English Teachers Forum (HKPNETs Forum) and the Native English
Speaking Teachers Association (Nesta).
The HKPNETs Forum is
the primary NET
represents the views and interests of PNETs in Hong Kong. It is
registered association with
Representative Committee of 5 PNETs and a membership of approximately
working in the NET Scheme. It holds regular liaison meetings with the EDB
under the authority of Kevin Yeung, then Under Secretary and now Secretary for Education. Summaries of liaison meetings, submissions to LegCo, and discussions with LegCo members are
Nesta represents the views and interests of
primary and secondary NETs under the
HK Government NET Scheme (up until June 2018, it represented
NETs in the
NET Scheme" i.e. SNETs),
RNCs, DSS NETs and Ex-NETs awarded
It is a registered association with a
of 6 SNETs and a membership that is not made public,
in 2017 and around 80 (22 PNETs, 51 SNETs) in early 2019. It holds regular liaison meetings with the EDB under the authority of
the Principal Education Officer of the Professional Development and Training
Division. Summaries of liaison meetings and discussions with LegCo are not
report of the "Evaluation of the NET Scheme in Primary Schools in HK
2015-2016" study (published in
recommended that the EDB "continue
to establish communication channels with NET organisations and seek out their
support to provide insight into NET issues and potential solutions."
Details of the 20-page paper submitted to the
study by the HKPNETs Forum and the follow-up meeting between representatives of
the study team and the HKPNETs Forum can be
Nesta made no recorded submission.
Liaison on Fringe Benefits
Please refer to the Medical Allowance,
and Special Allowance
Sections. Information on an historical proposal for an Education
History of Liaison and Recent
In July 2023, Nesta met with representatives of the EDB and
gratuity be payable should a NET terminate their contract early. The EDB
dismissed the request.
In May 2023, the HKPNETs Forum
representatives of the EDB. The EDB
passage allowance postponement continued to be possible on a case-by-case basis
and a single medical allowance reimbursement application form can be used that
covers multiple insurance policies.
In April 2023, 110+ members of the HKPNETs Forum
submitted a letter
to the EDB requesting clarity on passage allowance purchasing procedures due to
many applications being rejected in the 2022/23 school year. The EDB
responded "in order to safeguard the proper use of public money, a system of
controls has been introduced with effect from the 2022/23 school year" and
issued a FAQ detailing responsibilities and procedures to be taken for a
passage allowance reimbursement application.
In February 2023,
liaison discussions took place between a representative of the HKPNETs Forum
and the head of the EDB NET Admin Team to try to prevent an increase in the
number of passage reimbursement applications being rejected in September 2023.
Allowance - Purchase of Tickets' section of the HKPNETs Forum User Guide was
subsequently created and disseminated to PNETs and SNETs.
From September 2022, Nesta
NETs to take their schools to the Labour Dept if they had difficulties getting
flights reimbursed. Nesta also
advised NETs that schools should pay salary and fringe benefit payments to
NETs before applications have been made to the EDB for payment
(and contrary to the NET contract) and provided NETs
with a template letter to inform them as such. This advice followed a
mistaken interpretation of the NET contract regarding salary and fringe
benefit payments and an
erroneous interpretation of advice obtained by the Nesta Chair from the
Labour Dept regarding his personal case. In May 2023, the advice
tempered with the suggestion that "This may sour your workplace" and that
NETs should pay for passage and apply for reimbursement. The Nesta Chair
resigned due to his 'special circumstances' making it inappropriate for EDB
officers to meet Nesta at that time.
In May 2022, the HKPNETs Forum
representatives of the EDB. The EDB
said that due to this year's the Special Holiday arrangements, applications
for passage postponement can be made across contracts.
In May 2022, Nesta wrote to the EDB asking for
NETs to be allowed to work from home. The EDB
dismissed the request.
In February 2022, Nesta wrote to the EDB asking for NETs to be allowed to
work from abroad and from inbound and forced quarantine. The EDB
dismissed the request
saying that NETs should be physically present in Hong Kong and be ready to work
at schools. The EDB subsequently included the same in an
schools in March 2022 about the special Easter/summer holiday.
In May 2021, the HKPNETs Forum
representatives of the EDB. The EDB
said that previously postponed passage can be further postponed by
submission of an application letter as for the earlier postponement.
In May 2021, Nesta
wrote to the EDB asking for
a cash payout in lieu of passage, the refund of unused flight tickets, a refund
of inbound hotel quarantine costs and a dispensation for NETs to undertake
inbound quarantine at home for free. The EDB
dismissed the requests. Nesta
filed a complaint with the HK ombudsman. The EDB
dismissed the requests again.
In February 2021, Nesta
wrote to the EDB asking for Covid testing to not inconvenience teachers, to
be free and to be done at schools. Nesta also suggested that the EDB "retract
the policy of equating the opening of schools to Teacher testing" and
"explicitly contact the schools that have applied to reopen fully to ensure they
did not use intimidation or bullying to achieve the EDB's goals" and that
teachers do not "need to be at school to look after only 1/3 of the students who
attend lessons." The EDB
disregarded the requests and suggestions, and said testing arrangements were announced two
weeks before Nesta wrote their letter.
In November 2020, Nesta
met with LegCo Councillor Michael Tien and asked for the Medical Allowance
to be index-linked to the VHIS (Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme). The EDB
disregarded the request.
In August 2020, Nesta met
with LegCo Councillor
Ip Kin-Yuen and LegCo Councillor
Regina Ip to discuss increasing the Medical Allowance with both agreeing to
take the request to the EDB. The EDB
disregarded the request.
In June 2020, the EDB invited the HKPNETs Forum to participate in its annual
Induction Programme for Newly Appointed NETs to introduce the organisation to
In May 2020, the HKPNETs Forum
representatives of the EDB
asked the EDB,
"What are the arrangements for the postponement of passage allowance
entitlement". The EDB
procedural details of how NETs can postpone passage as a discretionary
In April 2020, Nesta
asked the EDB to "clearly provide NETs
and schools the option to postpone the return flight home this summer" and to "Clearly provide schools with a date when summer leave for
NETs (at the latest), should commence, such as July 31." The EDB
responded that summer holiday arrangements are a school-based decision.
In March 2020,
following discussions with the HKPNETs Forum in
May 2019, the EDB updated its
Frequently Asked Questions to clarify that accumulated sick leave is
forfeited upon switching between an aided and government school.
In May 2019,
the EDB stated that
CV distribution to schools is now undertaken in batches of 20-30 rather
than the previous "more than 5" and that differing policies between
government and aided schools, such as maternity leave entitlement when switching
schools, are now outlined to new NETs during the EDB's Induction Programme.
These issues were raised with the EDB by the HKPNETs
Forum in November
2015 and April
March 2019, the EDB altered its
Appointment/Re-appointment policy to allow NETs to request a copy of the
vacancy list AND also to ask for CV distribution. Previously, it had been not
been possible to ask for both. This issue was raised with the EDB by the HKPNETs
Forum in November
following discussions with the HKPNETs Forum, the EDB stated that the
government's proposal to abolish the MPF offsetting mechanism applies to
'severance and long service payment' offsets and does not apply to the NET
Scheme 'gratuity' offset.
In November 2018, following seed-project discussions with the EDB, Dr Marija
Todorova, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University,
members of the HKPNETs Forum to participate in research on Children's Literature
in English Language Teaching for Primary Students in Hong Kong.
In July 2018, the EDB
the HKPNETs Forum regarding its
on the Extension of Retirement Age for Newly-joined Aided School Teachers. The
HKPNETs Forum responded by "asking as many PNETs as possible to provide
personal submissions in support of an extension of retirement age to 65 for ALL
teachers ... highlighting
the different arrangements between teachers in government and aided schools and
also highlighting that the full 2018 civil service guidelines giving all civil
servants a choice of 60/65 were not going to be implemented by the EDB". Nesta
responded by writing to the EDB asking for their views, asking (due to a
misunderstanding of the
legal background of the consultation that was
highlighted to them before their response) that the consultation be halted
and requesting a new consultation take place in the future.
In July 2018, the HKPNETs Forum
attended a Professional Code for the Education Profession of Hong Kong
consultation session and
contributed to a subsequent
submission to the Council on Professional Conduct.
In July 2018,
members of the HKPNETs Forum were
to participate in their English-language briefing
cum consultation on revisions to the Professional Code for the
Education Profession of Hong Kong [Code of Conduct].
In Jun 2018, the Council on Professional Conduct in Education contacted the
HKPNETs Forum and
participate in the second consultation on revisions to the
Professional Code for the Education Profession of Hong Kong [Code of Conduct].
In May 2018,
following a discussion between Nesta and the EDB about increasing the Medical
stated that fringe benefits would remain unchanged
and that the EDB had
that any change would need to be approved by LegCo and may trigger a
review of the benefit package, possibly reducing benefits in some areas.
May 2018, following
the earlier consultative focus group meetings in December, the EDB invited the HKPNETs Forum to attend a follow-up meeting to discuss the draft Deployment Guidelines;
deployment hours were
as remaining the same and recommendations on 4 weeks' holiday periods were
In April 2018,
following discussions with the HKPNETs Forum in
July 2016, the EDB stated that issues resulting from a switch between an
aided/special school and a government school, or vice versa, such as
forfeiture of accumulated sick leave are discussed with new NETs during the
EDB Induction Programme for New NETs.
March 2018, following discussions with the HKPNETs Forum in
April 2016 and February 2017, the EDB included clarifications in the annual
Appointment/Re-Appointment Circular Memorandum indicating that Form B is
intended for any NET who has been in the EDB Candidate pool at any time in
the past regardless of how the current contract was obtained, indicating
that 1-year extensions should be done with reference to the special
circumstances listed in the Memorandum on T&Cs rather than being an alternative
option available to schools instead of a standard 2-year re-appointment contract
and indicating that Vacancy List/CV Distribution request is an either/or choice
(it is not possible to ask for both).
In December 2017, following discussions with the HKPNETs Forum in Nov 2015, July 2016
and April 2017, the EDB conducted two consultative focus groups on the proposed
update of Deployment Guidelines with the HKPNETs Forum and Nesta invited to attend. The HKPNETs Forum
asked for deployment hours to remain as they were and for the section on
4-weeks' summer holiday to be retained. Nesta asked for more EDB involvement in
schools as NETs are employed by the EDB (this misunderstanding was corrected at
the time), for NETs to attend all meetings held in Cantonese and for NETs to set
In May 2017, following representations from Nesta and the HKPTU, LegCo Councillor Michael Tien submitted a
LegCo Council Question asking for the NET remuneration package to be reviewed and for the
Medical Allowance to be increased. The
EDB responded that "The existing
remuneration package for the NET Scheme is adequate", that the EDB "will
follow the established and effective practice and review the remuneration
package for NETs from time to time to attract quality teachers to become NETs", and also stated
- for the first time on public record - its intention to consider the long-term
financial implications of the NET Schemes.
In April 2017, following earlier discussions in Nov 2015 and July 2016, the
HKPNETs Forum discussed the issue of consultation for the proposed update of
Deployment Guidelines; the EDB stated that invitations to participate in a
consultative focus group
will be issued
to the HKPNETs Forum and to Nesta.
In March 2017, Nesta
consulted a lawyer for an opinion on challenging the EDB on fringe benefit
entitlement. Following the opinion that Nesta "would
need to be able to point to some breach of contract normally to characterise it
as an employment dispute" and advice on possible costs, Nesta decided not
to pursue the issue further.
In Feb 2017, the Council on Professional Conduct in Education contacted the
HKPNETs Forum and Nesta to
exchange views on the consultation being undertaking for revisions to the
Professional Code for the Education Profession of Hong Kong [Code of Conduct] and Case [of
Misconduct] Handling Procedures.
In late 2016, Nesta
asked the EDB
for a Medical Allowance adjustment mechanism similar to that for SA and an
increase in the allowance. The
responded saying that any
revision of the allowance needs to be approved by LegCo and any increase could
result in less money being allocated for the SA or passage allowance.
re-submitted the request via a LegCo Councillor and via the HKPTU with a view to obtaining a
570% increase in the allowance. The EDB
rejected the request.
In mid-2016, Nesta submitted
a letter to the EDB re-introducing the request to change the Special
Allowance Mechanism to address "unfair" implementation and
petitioned the EDB "for NETs to be paid the same Special Allowance as they
used to be". Subsequent to this, PNETs
sent a letter to
the Secretary for Education stating that Nesta does not represent
the views of PNETs and that the HKPNETs Forum is the organisation that
represents PNETs; the EDB
stated its desire to continue communication and collaboration with the Forum
through the various channels. The EDB disregarded Nesta's proposal and petition
increased the special allowance in line with the Adjustment Mechanism.
May 2016, Nesta discussed with the EDB the issue of NETs attending
meetings held in Cantonese. Subsequent to this, the EDB added a new section to its
Frequently Asked Questions to state that "Schools may need every teacher to
be in staff meetings and that the NET's presence in meetings may matter to other
teachers. Therefore, schools are requested to give due consideration when
requiring their NETs to attend meetings conducted in Cantonese, and do so as
appropriate. NETs not attending staff meetings conducted in Cantonese should be
engaged in developmental or value-adding activities, NOT doing marking or
regular lesson preparation or administrative duties."
On 14 December
CHAN Ka Ki, Catherine, Deputy Secretary for Education,
confirmed to LegCo
that the EDB would maintain close communication with different stakeholders in
the implementation of the NET Scheme.
In November 2015, the HKPNETs Forum discussed with the EDB
its plan to update and issue new Deployment Guidelines without consulting PNETs. Subsequent to
this, the EDB
committed to "consult stakeholders, including NETs using focus groups,
established channels of communication and [a] online survey" with
a view to issuing
new Guidelines by the end of the 2017/18 school year.
In November 2015, the HKPNETs Forum discussed with the EDB the issue of contract
documentation not having update dates or reference numbers and the issue of the
checklist distributed to Principals of forms that need to be submitted not being
easily available to NETs. Subsequent to
this, the EDB now includes an date of update on all updated documentation
including contract terms
and conditions and has published the
Notes for Applications checklist on its website.
In September 2015 the HKPNETs Forum and representatives of the EDB began to
regular meetings to discuss issues relating to the NET Scheme.
In July 2015, the HKPNETs Forum discussed with the EDB the issue of
communication channels. Subsequent to this, the EDB now sends emails as
standard practice to both the HKPNETs Forum and Nesta with details of any updates made to NET Scheme documents
available on its
In early 2015 the EDB commenced a $1.3million NET Scheme Evaluation Study conducted by
Azusa Pacific University. The EDB
informed Nesta of the details of this study in November 2014, but this
information was not passed on to PNETs. Subsequently, the HKPNETs Forum
formal paper to the
detailing questions raised by PNETs and discussing relevant NET Scheme issues to
support the objectives and terms of reference of the evaluation study. The
HKPNETs Forum also
with a representative of the research study team to discuss PNET views on the
implementation and effectiveness of the NET Scheme.
In November 2014, Nesta
asked the EDB to introduce an education allowance and to increase in the
Medical Allowance and proposed a Medical Allowance adjustment mechanism similar
to that for SA. The EDB said an education allowance is not viable especially given the political
climate typified by the
meeting that had discussed the high salaries of NETs. The EDB said that
there are affordable medical insurance packages with reference to the present
rate of Medical Allowance as well as the services of public hospitals being
In November 2014 LegCo held a
review meeting which focussed on the NET Scheme.
Following this meeting, the HKPNETs Forum made a
formal submission to the LegCo Education Panel to respond to questions and
concerns raised by LegCo members. The Hon Regina Ip, GBS, JP and Hon Michael
Tien, BBS, JPT subsequently invited the HKPNETs Forum to
meeting to discuss the effectiveness of the NET Scheme which in turn led to
an invitation to
meet with Kevin Yeung, the Under Secretary for Education to discuss NET
Scheme related matters.
Also following this meeting, LegCo Councillor Ip Kin-yuen published
an article in the
HKPTUNews newsletter containing the results of NET Scheme survey he had conducted.
The HKPNETs Forum made a
formal submission to the
HKPTUNews challenging statements made in the article as
In August 2014, Nesta requested a change in the Special Allowance Mechanism
to address "unfair implementation". The EDB
rejected the request as, being the gatekeeper to public money, the EDB is
obliged to follow the established LegCo-approved mechanism. Subsequently, Nesta
re-submitted the request via LegCo Councillor, Emily Lau. The EDB
rejected the request for the same reason.
In June 2014, Stephen Krashen, Professor Emeritus, University of Southern
a letter to the SCMP suggesting the NET Scheme should be abolished. Members
of the HKPNETs Forum
wrote to Prof. Krashen expressing disagreement with his position given that
the NET Scheme implements his own research recommendations and pedagogical
approach and inviting him to visit schools in HK on his next visit.
Subsequently, Prof. Krashen
wrote to the SCMP clarifying he does not wish the NET Scheme to be
In 2013 LegCo held a
review mtg of the NET Schemes. NET representatives were not invited to
In April 2012, members of the HKPNETs Forum
liaised with the EDB to establish that the NET Scheme is implemented in
public sector schools (government, aided, special and caput schools) and not in
DSS or private schools that operate within HK's private education sector.
In March 2012, Nesta asked the EDB to
increase the gratuity to 17.5%. The EDB disregarded the suggestion.
In February 2011, Nesta asked the EDB to
change the remuneration package: backdated SA adjustment; a different
baseline for the SA Mechanism; an increase in baggage allowance and further
increases based on years of service. The EDB disregarded the suggestion and
advised that such a proposal would require LegCo Finance Committee approval
and would likely trigger a full review of the overall remuneration package.
In March 2010, Nesta
proposed to the EDB that the SA Mechanism be changed to "take
into account the actual rental price applied to the calculation of the
adjustment, which is the current special allowance rate" and that there to be a
review of the remuneration package. The EDB
disregarded the proposal.
In April 2008, Nesta asked the EDB to
change the remuneration package:
45% increase in SA, 15%/17.5% RI for 6/8 years'
service, gratuity increase to 18% to compensate for change in $HK, education
allowance of 50%/25% school fees for 1st/subsequent child, 257%/177% increase in
single/married medical allowance, baggage allowance of 1 cubic metre. In May
submitted a petition to the EDB asking for the same.
In July 2008, Nesta approached LegCo with the same
request. In Aug 2009, the EDB
disregarded the request and said that Nesta had
agreed in July 2009 that "given the present serious economic downturn and other policy
considerations, it was not a suitable time to conduct a comprehensive review on
the remuneration package of NETs".
In January 2008, Nesta
with the Secretary for Education, Michael Suen, and asked for the
remuneration package to be changed: PNETs and SNETs to be paid
the same, 60% increase in medical allowance, 53% increase in baggage allowance.
disregarded the request.
2008, Nesta petitioned the EDB
to increase entry qualifications for PNETs to ensure only "qualified and
experienced teachers" were recruited so that the integrity of the Enhanced NET
Scheme would not be affected. The EDB
introduced a mandatory TEFL for PNETs from 2009/10 with a strict requirement of 100-hours' tuition
practical teaching component.
In Apr 2007, LegCo held a full review of the NET Scheme policy. The views of
fourteen associations were sought: thirteen attended the meeting; all supported
the NET Scheme Policy. Nesta
teaching degrees be mandatory; that the "wrong type of NETs" be weeded out;
increases in SA, baggage and medical allowances; removal of school-based
management for NETs; a new education allowance and an increase in salaries. Lee Weston and Craig Boswell
repeated their petition. Other associations
asked for contracts to be five-year and schools with a good track-record of
NET retention be given priority;
asked for two NETs per school, Induction for new NETs and a cash allowance
in lieu of a NET. The EDB
disregarded all suggestions.
In Mar 2007, two SNETs, Lee Weston and Craig Boswell,
petioned LegCo in their own right
on behalf of all NETs for the the 2005 SA increase to be backdated
for all NETs and for $29,500 compensation to be paid to NETs signing
contracts in 2004. This led to
LegCo initiating a full review of the EDB's NET Scheme Policy and seeking the views of
2006, the HKPNETs Forum
was established by PNETs as an association for
NETs working in the NET Scheme.
In November 2005, the EDB's proposal to introduce a new retention incentive
was authorised by the LegCo Finance Committee. The EDB
stated they had "reviewed the adequacy of other components of the
remuneration package for NETs and do not find it necessary to make any change at
In July 2005, the LegCo Education Panel held a meeting to discuss NET Scheme
cost-effectiveness and recruitment
submitted its petitions again and
attended the LegCo meeting. The EDB
argued against the petitions. LegCo expressed concern about the increasing
turnover rate of NETs and asked the EDB to consult Nesta on improvements to the
NET Scheme and to make recommendations to enhance the competitiveness of the NET
Scheme. In Oct 2005, the EDB
disregarded the petitions and instead
instituted the Retention Incentive. The EDB stated that it would continue to
with NETs through various channels including the parent-teacher associations;
in 2006/7 the Principal Education Officer of the Professional Development
and Training Division, EDB, began to hold
regular meetings with Nesta to gauge views and feedback from NETs.
June 2005, the "Allnets" Yahoo discussion group was established as an
adjunct to Nesta's Special Allowance and Gratuity Committee to "to help
disseminate pertinent information to all NET teachers in Hong Kong" to NETs "on
the Hong Kong Government's Enhanced NET Scheme".
June 2005, Nesta petitioned LegCo to
change the remuneration package: 25% gratuity, 43% increase in SA, 5-year
long-service award of 4 mths salary and an increase in medical allowance
rental and moving costs, tax increases, rising school fees, local health issues,
bird flu, sars, challenges of living in hk, family outings costs, rising
salaries of domestic helpers, and
reduced earning power etc.
In 2003, a year after the NET Scheme started in primary schools, the EDB
asked LegCo to approve a new SA Adjustment Mechanism. LegCo Education Panel
members encouraged the EDB to
consult with NETs with the help of the HKPTU. The EDB said it would
consult with NETs through various channels.
In 2002, LegCo raised concerns about the difficulty in recruiting and retaining SNETs. In response, the EDB
designated an Education Officer to act as a contact point for resolving issues.
1999, Nesta was established by SNETs as an
association for NETs working in
the Enhanced NET Scheme.
In 1998, the Enhanced NET Scheme was established in secondary schools.
Liaison on a Proposal
for an Education
In 2007, Nesta
proposed to EDB and to LegCo that an Education Allowance be added to the
fringe benefits package.
In 2008, Nesta asked
the EDB (April) and
LegCo (July) for an Education Allowance of 50% school fees for a first
child and 25% school fees for subsequent children was submitted . The EDB
responded in 2009 saying that there is no justifiable reasons to revise
fringe benefits of NETs in light of stringent policy considerations on the
fringe benefits of the civil service and that it had been agreed with NET
representatives that a comprehensive review of remuneration would not take place
in in the foreseeable future.
In late 2014 Nesta
asked the EDB for an Education Allowance with the EDB
responding that such an allowance is
not viable, especially given the political climate typified by the
Nov 2014 LegCo
Education Panel meeting that had highlighted perceived high salaries of