Schools of disrepute to be named and shamed
The Education Department and Consumer Council will name disreputable private schools in an attempt to clamp down on unscrupulous operators.
The department also is considering amending laws to force private schools to submit detailed information on their shareholders before they can be registered.
The moves follow a series of controversies over unregistered courses and misleading adverts.
All three branches of the Sun Institute of Technology and Matriculation closed suddenly on Wednesday, affecting more than 200 students.
A department spokesman said it had reached a consensus with the council on naming errant private schools. There are about 1,300 private schools in the SAR.
'If some schools repeatedly breach the Education Ordinance and pay no heed to our warnings, we will pass the cases on to the council and advise it to name them together with our department,' the spokesman said. 'We hope the naming of the disreputable schools will alert students and help them make appropriate choices.'
Another law change being considered by the department is to make private schools pay a deposit to the Government. The deposits would be used to compensate students if the school was found to have offered unregistered courses or if it went bankrupt.
The department spokesman said it had no timetable for amendments but a preliminary proposal could be put forward before the end of the year.
The Sun institute's founder, Chan Hing-shing, ran the Baptist Educational Institution, which closed in 1982 after falling into arrears with rent and teachers' salaries.
He set up the Sun institute in July. Mr Chan did not take up school posts such as principal, supervisor or board member, which would make him subject to the Education Ordinance.
The department carried out several inspections at the Sun institute since August and had issued warnings. 'They have heeded our warnings. As far as we know, its closure did not involve serious malpractice but was more due to financial difficulties,' the spokesman said.
The department's two inquiry hotlines for the school's students, on 2782 8415 and 2782 8428, have received 85 calls since Wednesday.