Free classrooms used to store furniture

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 October, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 October, 1997, 12:00am

Classrooms are being used to store furniture while the Government plans to increase average class sizes in other schools.

Educationists are angry about the existence of 2,000 empty classrooms as schools are told to increase class sizes to help achieve the target of having 60 per cent of primary schools operate on a whole-day basis by 2002.

The Professional Teachers Union has criticised the Education Department for wasting resources but the department rejected the criticism yesterday, saying it had always planned to use vacant classrooms.

A department spokesman said some could not be used for whole-day schooling because they were in remote areas and it would take young children too long to travel from other districts.

Some classrooms were in schools scheduled for demolition and others were in new schools and would be filled when students progressed through primary schooling.

Some schools had classrooms vacant only in the morning or the afternoon, but there were not enough free classrooms to facilitate conversion to whole-day operation, the spokesman said.

The principal of a whole-day primary school in Ngau Tau Kok said only 12 of its 24 classrooms were used.

'This situation has lasted for more than a decade as nearby estates get older,' she said.

'We have turned three rooms over to library and audio-visual use and three other rooms to keep students' lockers.

'We lock the other six rooms, all on the top floor. Some of the rooms store spare tables and chairs.

'Last school year the Education Department said it would renovate the rooms to make them more effectively used. But so far we haven't heard of the plan.'