Equal Opportunities Commission

Limited places for girls 'worrying'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 July, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 July, 2001, 12:00am

The chairwoman of the Equal Opportunities Commission said yesterday she was disappointed at the limited number of secondary school places made available by the Education Department for girls who feel they have been discriminated against.

The Court of First Instance ruled last month that the Education Department's 23-year-old practice of ranking boys and girls separately for allocation was discriminatory.

It found girls had been victimised because they scored better than boys but in many cases were allocated to less popular schools.

The department has one year to rectify the problem. But for this year the department has only agreed to set aside about 600 places at secondary schools to accommodate appeals from students, although it is estimated that more than 2,500 girls may appeal.

'I'm really disappointed with the limited places made available,' commission chairwoman Anna Wu Hung-yuk said. 'It would be better for the Education Department to resolve as many legitimate cases as possible.'

The commission, which lodged the judicial review with the court over the department's practice, promised to help parents and students who believed they were being discriminated against.

'For those with genuine grievances, whether it's boys or girls, we are obliged to assist them,' Ms Wu said.

Popular schools have been asked to provide one more place to cope with a possible deluge of appeals from students when the allocation results are released next Tuesday.