Confusion over school closures

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 June, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 June, 1999, 12:00am

Education chiefs have been accused of bungling after thousands of students were left confused by a series of announcements about class cancellations.

About 12,000 were left scratching their heads after officials first said government evening schools would be closed, then that they were 'uncertain' before announcing two hours before classes were due to start that they would close.

The secretary of the Hong Kong Association for Continuing Education, Mervyn Cheung Man-ping, said he had received calls from some teachers asking if the evening schools would open.

'It is a clear case of maladministration. The announcements are so confusing. The [Education] Department first said evening schools would close, then it said it was uncertain and finally it said the schools would remain closed.' Students were told they could enjoy a day off only two hours before the start of classes.

The department announced before 5.30am that all schools including evening schools would be closed. After 1pm, the department said all schools would stay closed but added 'an announcement will be made on whether the evening schools will be operating'.

A final announcement saying all evening schools would stay closed came at about 4.45pm.

A department spokeswoman said it did not know how long typhoon signal No. 8 would be hoisted. 'At about 4pm the observatory said the weather was still unstable, so we decided to close the schools,' she said.