System pressured to find 2,000 Form One places

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 July, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 July, 1999, 12:00am

Education officials are struggling to find 2,000 extra Form One places in the 2000-2001 school year for students born in the Year of the Dragon 11 years ago.

Some schools may need to open more Form One classes and increase class sizes.

The situation is expected to be worse than this year. As many as 8,000 students were last week allocated secondary school places not in their own districts for the 1999-2000 year because the Education Department stopped buying places from private schools.

Figures from the Census and Statistics Department show more than 75,400 babies were born in 1988, the Year of the Dragon. Those children will turn 12 next year and be eligible for Form One.

The number of babies dropped to 69,000 in 1989 and 67,700 in 1990. And last year the number was about 52,900.

Many people believe babies born in the Year of Dragon will be healthy and have a prosperous future.

Senior education officer Lam Hing-sang said yesterday officials were predicting there would be about 80,000 children looking for Form One places in 2000. But only 78,000 would be available.

He said officials were trying to find places for the children. Officers would contact schools to see if they could open more Form One classes.

The department preferred opening more classes to adding students to existing classes.

Parents want their children in schools in their own districts.