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
association that represents the views and interests of PNETs in Hong Kong. It is
registered association with a membership of approximately
working in the the NET Scheme. It holds regular liaison meetings with the EDB
under the authority of Kevin Yeung, the Under Secretary for Education. Minutes
of liaison meetings, submissions to LegCo and discussions with LegCo members are available
Nesta represents the views and interests of NETs in the Enhanced
NET Scheme (SNETs),
RNCs, DSS NETs and Ex-NETs awarded lifelong membership.
It is a registered association with a membership number that is not made public,
but is reported to be approximately
130. It holds regular liaison meetings with the EDB under the authority of
the Principal Education Officer of the Professional Development and Training
Division. Minutes of liaison meetings and discussions with LegCo are not
Full details of liaison relating to the Medical Allowance are available in the
Medical Allowance Information Sheet.
Details of liaison relating to the annual Special Allowance Review are
available in the
Details of liaison relating to proposals for an Education Allowance are
History of Liaison
The Enhanced NET Scheme was established in secondary schools in 1998.
In 2001, Nesta was established by SNETs as an association for NETs working in
the Enhanced NET Scheme.
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.
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.
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 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.
In 2006, the HKPNETs Forum was established by PNETs as an association for
NETs working in the NET Scheme.
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
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.
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 April 2008, Nesta asked the EDB to
change the remuneration package: 45% SA increase, 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 July
2008, Nesta approached LegCo with the same
request. In Aug 2009, the EDB
disregarded all suggestions saying that Nesta had
agreed that it was not a suitable time to conduct a comprehensive review on
the remuneration package of NETs under the NET Schemes in the foreseeable future.
The EDB also said there is no separate adjustment mechanism for
non-SA benefits, which follow that for the civil service.
In 2013 LegCo held a
review mtg of the NET Schemes. NET representatives were not invited to
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 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 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
PTUNews newsletter containing the results of NET Scheme survey he had conducted.
The HKPNETs Forum made a
formal submission to the
PTUNews responding to concerns raised.
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 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.
In July 2015, the HKPNETs Forum discussed with the EDB the issue of
communication channels. Subsequent to this, the EDB now emails both the
HKPNETs Forum and Nesta with details of any updates made to NET Scheme documents
available on its
In September 2015 the HKPNETs Forum and representatives of the EDB began to
regular meetings to discuss issues relating to the NET Scheme.
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 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.
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 May 2016, Nesta discussed with the EDB the issue of NETs attending
meetings held in Cantonese. Subsequent to this, the EDB updated 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
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.
In late 2016, Nesta asked
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 the PTU with a view to obtaining a
570% increase in the allowance. The EDB rejected the request.
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 and Case [of
Misconduct] Handling Procedures.
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.
History of Education
A proposal for an Education Allowance was
submitted to the EDB and to LegCo in 2007.
Another proposal for an Education Allowance of 50% school fees for a first
child and 25% school fees for subsequent children was submitted
to the EDB in April 2008 and
to LegCo in July 2008. 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.
A proposal for an Education Allowance was submitted
to the EDB in late 2014 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