Frequently Asked Questions (for Secondary Schools)
A1: IT Innovation Lab is an enhancement initiative launched under the existing “Enriched IT Programme in Secondary Schools” (EITP), and the scope of funding is extended to all publicly-funded secondary schools. It aims to cultivate the interest of secondary school students in IT, enhance their innovative thinking and foster an IT learning atmosphere to encourage them to choose technology-related tertiary education programmes and pursue an I&T career in the future.
A2: The IT Innovation Lab initiative is not restricted to setting up a physical lab. The funding should be used on students for learning IT, and the facilities and equipment acquired through the funding should be directly related to the proposed IT-related activities.
A3: Solely purchasing hardware and software does not meet the initiative objective. The hardware and software to be purchased must be the IT equipment that are necessary for organising the related activities. The school is required to use the procured equipment in organising activities for students to learn IT. When designing the activities, please make sure the learning objectives attribute to the learning of IT knowledge, theory and/or relevant practical skills involving exercising knowledge and practice of the IT discipline, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing and big data, instead of the perspective of merely an IT user.
Eligibility of Applicants
A4: The applicant must be a publicly-funded secondary school, including government, aided, caput secondary schools and secondary schools under the Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS).
A5: The funding scope of the IT Innovation Lab initiative includes the following two aspects－
- procuring and maintaining IT equipment and infrastructure (such as server-side and client-side hardware and software, optical fibre and broadband network, cloud servers and storage services) and acquiring relevant professional services (such as cloud services) that meet the needs of the school and its students; and
- organising IT-related activities. These activities can take different forms, including workshops, seminars, short courses, local visits, experience activities, as well as participation in local and non-local competitions and organising exhibitions to showcase students’ innovation and achievements. The scope of such activities can also be wide-ranging, including for example learning to code, learning about new technologies such as virtual reality (VR) / augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), drones, robotics, etc., the application of IT, digital transformation, visits to multi-national companies in Hong Kong and local start-ups as well as preparing for IT competitions, such as datathons, etc. The funding could also cover operational expenses of these activities (such as maintenance and professional services for learning support) and administrative cost.
- non-local study tours;
- teachers' training;
- use of IT in supporting general teaching and learning; and
- promotion materials (e.g. souvenirs, prizes, printing service for promotion, professional service for event website development, etc.).
A6: The funding under this programme can only be used to organise IT-related extra-curricular activities and procure IT equipment, infrastructure and related services which are necessary and directly related to the proposed IT-related activities. Generally speaking, the funding for the procurement of IT equipment, infrastructure and related services should not be more than $500,000 during the entire programme period. Schools should provide clear and concrete justifications on any expenditure in procuring IT equipment, infrastructure and related services, and explain why such expenditure is required for the proposed IT-related activities. Schools should also provide specific plans on how to fully utilise the IT equipment, infrastructure and related services (such as organising more IT-related activities) within the scope of the IT Innovation Lab programme.
A7: Renovation works and furniture unrelated to the proposed IT activities are out of scope of the programme. Please refer to Annex 3 - Examples of Out-of-Scope Items of the Application Guidelines.
A8: Whole-school network upgrade for e-learning is out of scope of the programme. Please refer to Annex 3 - Examples of Out-of-Scope Items of the Application Guidelines: e-learning equipment for assisting general teaching and learning purposes.
A9: For effective use of the funding of IT Innovation Lab programme, participating schools adopt cloud services, including cloud server and storage service, which are more agile, flexible and cost-effective, and helps reduce the amount of maintenance work required for schools.
A10: No, one single application can contain multiple planned activities or equipment to be acquired in the school year.
A11: The programme is open for application from 1 December 2020.
A12: Schools are welcome to make a joint application. They can submit application forms signed by individual principals and indicate the activities to be organised jointly at the columns of activity titles / descriptions on the application form. OGCIO will vet the related applications together but the approval is to be granted based on individual schools with a maximum funding of $1 million.
A13: According to the guidelines issued by ICAC, participating schools should open a dedicated bank account to handle the funding under the programme. If a school encounters difficulties in opening a bank account, it may propose an alternative in lieu of this arrangement to OGCIO with reasons and justifications, which should cover how it will strengthen its internal financial management, for instance, by using an existing dormant bank account which bears the school name and has been inactive generally for 6 months or more, stepping up its financial management of the separate ledger account through a computerised accounting system, and providing half-yearly financial reports, etc. OGCIO will take the school’s proposal into consideration based on the information the school submitted and reserve the right to conduct school visits for ensuring that the funding is properly used in compliance with the objectives and requirements of the programme.
A14: It is advisable for the participating schools to plan in advance for opening a bank account in order to allow sufficient time for completing the required procedures. The account opening arrangements and documentation requirements for opening a bank account (such as the school registration documents, the relevant minutes of meetings and the identification documents of the authorised persons of the bank account etc.) may vary from bank to bank. Participating schools may refer to the list of retail banks and virtual banks in Hong Kong and their documentation requirements for opening accounts provided by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. Please refer to the webpage below for details: https://www.hkma.gov.hk/eng/smart-consumers/account-opening/contact-details-of-banks/
A15: The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) has introduced a new Small Unmanned Aircraft Order (SUA Order) which is a new subsidiary legislation made under the Civil Aviation Ordinance (Cap. 448) and has come into effect on 1 June 2022. This new order is to foster the innovative development and application of SUA or drones in Hong Kong in tandem with evolving technology while safeguarding aviation and public safety. Under the new regulatory regime, SUA operations will be regulated under a risk-based approach and classified according to the weight of the SUA and the operational risk level. SUA operations of different risk levels will be subject to the corresponding regulatory requirements. These requirements may include registration and labelling of SUA, registration of remote pilots, training and assessment, equipment, operating requirements and insurance.
To facilitate sustainable development of SUA, flight operation for educational or research purposes is subject to the limited application of the new law. Requirements such as remote pilot registration, training and assessment, as well as equipment, insurance and most of operating requirements are not applicable. However, the SUA concerned must fulfill the registration and labelling requirements, and be operated wholly within the school premises of a specified school. For details, please refer to the Safety Requirements Document and SUA Advisory Circular AC-009, Guidelines for Small Unmanned Aircraft Operations within School Premises at https://www.cad.gov.hk/english/sua_new.html.
The CAD has launched the Electronic Portal for Small Unmanned Aircraft (eSUA). Schools may access the eSUA, or find the links at https://esua.cad.gov.hk to register or obtain the latest SUA Drone Map and other safety information.