Fire safety concerns over unregistered high-rise 'schools'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 May, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 May, 2001, 12:00am

You might have noticed the proliferation of 'arts and crafts' or dance schools in areas of Mid-Levels. It would now seem that these 'schools' are moving into high-rise office buildings, Universal Trade Centre for one, where children as young as three can be seen being taken to the high floors.

From the information available on the Education Department's Web site, it would seem that a school is deemed to be a school if there are more than 20 children in a day or more than eight children at any one time being 'educated'. I also understand that schools should also not be above six floors from ground level.

It would seem that as these particular establishments are not registered as schools, the Education Department considers them a grey area. As the children are not being taught academic subjects, the operators do not apparently have to comply with the stringent requirements which registered schools do.

I have made an inquiry with the Fire Services Department but they have not responded. If there were to be a fire or some other emergency that necessitated the evacuation of young children from the building, along with adults who could well be in a state of panic, a disaster would be bound to occur.