Tears, smiles as school allocations revealed

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 June, 2012, 12:00am


There was joy for some and tears for others yesterday as parents learned whether their children had won places in the primary schools of their choice for the coming academic year.

Come September, about 44,000 children will start Primary One. Some of them have applied under a central allocation system, in which the Education Bureau assigns children to schools based on the parents' choices and the distance from their homes.

Parents found out the results of the government allocation at designated schools in each district. The bureau said earlier that nearly three-quarters of the more than 20,000 applicants this year were granted one of their top three selections.

'I'm very excited that my daughter can get into the school of our first choice. All my efforts have paid off,' one mother said at a Lok Fu centre, bursting into tears. Her daughter was admitted to Maryknoll Convent School for girls, in Kowloon Tong.

She said her daughter had been sent to different interest classes - including swimming and drawing - since she was in kindergarten.

Coaching a child in a wide range of skills is a common tactic that parents use to secure a place at their dream schools, in case they fail in the central allocation round.

Relocating to live near an elite school is something many parents resort to in order to increase their chances of winning a place there. The Wong family moved from Yuen Long to Kowloon Tong two years ago in hopes of getting their son into the prestigious La Salle Primary School for boys, in Kowloon City.

'My family's dream has come true,' the father said. 'I believe the school will provide a good learning environment for my son.'

But a Kowloon City resident left the centre in dismay. 'The school assigned [to my daughter] is my eighth or ninth choice - it is totally unexpected,' the housewife said, adding that she had prepared nine self-recommendation letters for her child.

The bureau says 24,352 children took part in the central allocation exercise this year. It says 73 per cent, or about 17,700, of the applicants have been granted one of their top three choices, a drop of 5 percentage points year on year.

The bureau attributed the drop to the greater number of applicants and parents' preference for elite schools.

It said parents should register their children with the allocated school before Wednesday or the allocation could be forfeited. Those dissatisfied with their assigned school can apply to other schools where places are available.