Kowloon schools lament allocation results
Principals and parents in three Kowloon districts blame a government decision to bar pupils from their areas from applying for places in Wan Chai schools for their poorer results in Secondary One place allocations this year.
About 79,000 Primary Six pupils yesterday learnt which schools they would go to.
They will be the first to study in the new senior secondary system in 2009.
Under the new system, school-based assessment - where course work counts towards final exams - will be phased in for all subjects in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education from 2009.
Tsoi Kai-chun, the principal of Yaumati Catholic Primary School, said 75 per cent of his students had been allocated to one of their first three choices, down from 85 per cent from last year.
Mr Tsoi attributed the drop to the Education and Manpower Bureau's decision in April to bar students in Yau Ma Tei, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok from applying to secondary schools in Wan Chai, where several elite schools are located.
Leung Kee-cheong, the head of Fresh Fish Traders' School, said the decision to block Yau Tsim Mong students from Wan Chai schools had accounted for the less than satisfactory results in his school: two of 63 pupils had been allocated to English-medium secondaries, compared with six in the past.
He said competition for English-medium schools in the Yau Tsim Mong district had intensified as students could no longer seek places in the Wan Chai schools.
Leung Ling, a Yau Tsim Mong parent whose son had wanted to apply to Queen's College but was unable to, said parents had strongly opposed the bureau's decision.
'But we have to follow the rules of the game. We play very passive roles,' he said. He was one of several parents who went to Queen's College yesterday to try to secure extra places offered for repeaters and students who would like to go to the school but who had failed in their applications.
Queen's College principal Li Lok-yin said applications from Yau Tsim Mong students would be reviewed first.
But he did not say how many among about 10 extra places would be reserved for these students.
Meanwhile, some pupils celebrated after learning they had been admitted to their dream schools, including Wong Ka-ho, who gained entry to Wah Yan College, and Thomas Li, who secured a place at St Francis Xavier's College.
A spokesman for the bureau said the proportion of Yau Tsim Mong pupils allocated their first choice increased by 2 per cent this year.
While fewer students in the districts had been given places in schools that used English as the medium of instruction, the decrease was 'insignificant', less than 1 per cent, the spokesman said.