More small schools to challenge closure
At least three more under-enrolled primary schools will appeal against the government's closure order by asking for special inspections that might win them a reprieve.
Twenty schools have been ordered to stop operating Primary One classes as they failed to recruit a minimum of 23 Primary One pupils for the next school year.
Schools that stop their Primary One classes are expected to close within three years. They can avoid closure by merging, joining the Direct Subsidy Scheme or applying for a special inspection that could allow them to resume Primary One classes.
If the special inspections prove they are of high quality, they could be given an exemption and allowed to continue recruitment.
Tsing Yi Public School and two schools under the Grantham College of Education Past Students' Association - the GCEPSA Kwun Tong Primary School and GCEPSA Tseung Kwan O Primary School - yesterday confirmed they would apply for special inspections.
The association is chaired by Szeto Wah, the retired veteran democratic legislator and founder of the Professional Teachers' Union, which has been fighting some of the government's education policies, including the School-based Management Ordinance.
He accused the government of deliberately putting the two schools into an unfavourable school net where the student population was dropping.
'The government is trying to wipe out schools which do not support its policies,' Mr Szeto said.
Fung Kei-cheuk, principal of the Kwun Tong school, said it was not sensible for the government to close the school one year after it had spent more than $27 million on improving its campus.
He also said the government was being inflexible, as his school had recruited 21 Primary One children, just two students short of the minimum.
Two other schools have applied for special inspections - the Po Leung Kuk Wong Clan Association Primary School and Northcote College of Education Past Students' Association School.
The Education and Manpower Bureau did not return calls last night.