Compulsory education is set for 9 years from primary to lower-secondary education and is financed by government. The government expenditure on education for 2018-2019 is HKD 126 billion (US$16 billion), which is 20.6% of total government expenditure and 4.4% of GDP in the same year.
In 2007, the government started offering vouchers. Since 2011, the vouchers are now worth HKD16 000 (US$2064) per child. Every kindergarten that participates in the voucher program must set their tuition fee to be less than HKD24 000 (US$3096) (half-day kindergarten) and less than HKD48 000 (US$6190) (full day kindergarten). In addition, according to EDB notification in 2017, the government started to offer free pre-school education and allocated HKD 6.7 billion (US$864 million) for this programme.
According to the 2018-19 budget speech, Treasury provides HKD 2 billion (US$258 million) recurrent expenditure to strengthen support for teachers, kindergartens, integrated education and life-wide learning. In addition, they provide HKD 2 billion (US$258 million) to expedite installation of lifts in public sector schools to provide a barrier free environment for disabled students.
According to EDB, depending on the types of children served, the class size of special schools ranges from 8 to 15 per class. The government also offers Learning Support Grant (LSG) for students with special educational needs. The subsidy ranges from HKD 15000 (US$1930) per year to HKD 60 000 (US$7740) per year.
According to Additional Support Grant for Enhancing the Support for Boarders with Medical Complexity in Aided Special Schools for the 2014/15 school year, grants range from HKD15 000 (US$1935) to HKD 50 000 (US$ 6450) per 5-day boarder per annum for those with medical complexity who are in need of support.
The Community Care Fund (CCF) provides travel subsidies to students of special schools. An extra 50% of student travel subsidy is provided if primary and secondary students of special schools (applicable to those suffering from physical disability, visual impairment, hearing impairment and intellectual disability) meeting the eligibility criteria.
The Commission on Poverty (CoP) allocates funds from the Community Care Fund to post-secondary students with special educational needs and financial needs, which offers each student a maximum of an additional HKD 9200 (US$1187 USD) in the academic year of 2020/21.
Ethnicity and language
The Government has earmarked $500 million in the 2018-2019 Budget to support ethnic minority. Student Finance office (SFO) is committed to providing all possible assistance to needy ethnic minorities for applying the student financial assistance.
Government allocated HKD 200 million (US$26 million) in the 2018/2019 year for ethnic minorities educational support.
The school textbook assistance scheme provides HKD 5490 (US$708) for primary school students, and HKD 5580 (US$720) for junior high school students per year. For 2020/2021, the Social Welfare Department (SWD) allocates HKD 851 million (US$110 million) for this programme, 196 000 students applied the subsidy, 101 000 of them are primary school students and 95 000 of them are junior high school students.
The Student Travel Subsidy (STS) Scheme provides travel subsidy to needy primary and secondary students. The average subsidy amount is HKD 2552 (US$330) for primary and secondary education. A total of HKD344 million (US$44 million) was allocated for a total of 135 000 primary and secondary students in 2020/2021.