SSB-HK- Exploring the dynamic changing roles and functions of School Sponsoring Bodies: Heritage and autotomy in Hong Kong education
At the system level, the voices of the School sponsoring bodies (SSBs) have been marginalized in the policy debate since 1990 because they are just one of the many stakeholders. SSBs are a unique stakeholder in the education system in Hong Kong because most of the local schools are not operated by the government, but subsidised under the Codes of Aid (CA). Among the vast majority (around 500) of the 520+ SSBs that operated about 1800 aided primary, aided secondary and Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS) schools, and kindergartens in 1999 ran 10 schools/kindergartens or less (EDB, 2000). For the religious SSBs, the amendment of the Education Ordinance (Legislative Council, 2004) represented the most coercive means of the new government to secularize school management through school-based management (SBM) after 1997. For the practitioners, SBM was a double edge-sword that increased the participations of the frontline teachers in decision making and enhanced their professional autonomy in school-based curricular development and organizational self-management strengths, but also creating anxiety and dissonance (Ko, Cheng & Lee, 2016).
Though about twenty publications in the literature have discussed the roles and functions of SSBs since 2000, none of them studied SSBs exclusively. Therefore, the accounts of these studies regarding the views of SSBs are not grounded on empirical findings, nor reflect their voices. This proposed study is intended to fill the knowledge gap on this important, but least understood stakeholder of Hong Kong education system.