Closure fears for 12 village schools
Twelve village schools are facing closure after losing last-gasp appeals against an Education Department ban on admitting Primary One pupils in the next school year.
Their failure to overturn the ban means they could face eventual closure and children in some parts of the New Territories and outlying islands will have to travel further to school.
The schools asked the department to review their cases after their initial appeals to reverse the decision failed two weeks ago.
Of the 19 village schools excluded from the list for Primary One admission next year, only five won an appeal and have been allowed to admit pupils provided they can recruit at least 16 by November 18.
Twelve of the 14 schools which lost the appeal requested a review of their cases.
An Education Department spokesman said yesterday the department had turned down final appeals lodged by the 12 schools last Friday.
'We have considered factors such as the schools' location, parental choice and the acute drop in the student population in their vicinity,' the spokesman said.
Wong Tim, principal of Pun Chung Public Primary School in Tai Po, said the department rejected his school's request for a review. 'Our school is not running Primary One classes this school year because of insufficient intake,' he said. 'I'm worried that the ban on taking in students next year will put the survival of our school at risk.'
Kwong Kwok-fai, principal of Ku Tung Public Oi Wah School in Sheung Shui, one of the five schools which won their appeals last month, said 10 pupils had applied for Primary One places for the next school year.
'But I'm not optimistic about meeting the requirement of recruiting 16 Primary One pupils next month,' Mr Kwong said.