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From: NESTA Benefits and Welfare Committee

The NESTA Benefits and Welfare Committee met with EDB officials on April 7th 2008 to discuss their proposal on how to improve the overall remuneration package for NETs. The EDB indicated that it will take at least a year for this review to be completed. We feel that such a review need not take such an inordinate length of time.

As part of the proposal, a review of the current Special Allowance rate to reflect the increase in rental prices since January 2006 was requested. The EDB acknowledged that according to their statistics (Average Rental Prices, Government Rating and Valuation Department), rental prices had increased by 9\%. However, according to the Domestic Rental Price Index (Government Rating and Valuation Department), there had been an increase in rental prices of 31.4\% since January 2006. The Government Rating and Valuation department confirmed in an e-mail to the NESTA Benefits and Welfare Committee that the Domestic Rental Price Index was a more reliable mechanism to determine a change in price over time:

'This department compiles both average prices and price indices. Our average prices are the simple average of the transaction prices and analysed for general reference only, while the price indices have taken in account the physical attributes and locations of the properties concerned. Therefore, our price indices are better than the average prices in reflecting price change over time.'
(Phoebe Chau, Technical Secretary, Rating and Valuation Department)

At this time, the EDB has not responded to our requests for a review of their current calculation mechanism for the Special Allowance, which does not reflect the real increase in rental prices since January 2006, as confirmed by the Governments Rating and Valuation Department.

It is essential that improvements to the overall remuneration package, based on reliable evidence, are implemented within a much shorter time frame, in order to ensure that the NET scheme continues to recruit and retain experienced and qualified NETs, for the benefit of English-language education in Hong Kong schools.

As NETs rents continue to rise sharply, we request an immediate review of the Special Allowance to reflect the true increase in the Domestic Rental Price Index over the last 2 years.

On behalf of Hong Kong Native English-speaking Teachers, NET Scheme.

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Ron CastilloBy:
Business and CompaniesIn:
Petition target:
Michael M.Y. Suen, Secretary for Education, Hong Kong Government.

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