ESF - English Schools Foundation

New niche at state primaries

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 February, 2007, 12:00am

A growing number of parents in Hong Kong, the mainland and other Asian countries are enrolling their children in Australian government primary schools.

Parents with children as young as six are paying A$8,000 (HK$48,500) or more a year in fees to have them educated in state schools where the cost is much less than most private schools charge.

More than 25,000 students are enrolled in Australian public and private schools and the top three source countries are China, South Korea and Hong Kong.

Although overseas students are already present in significant numbers in Australian universities and over the past two years in secondary school, it is only recently that enrolments have increased sharply in the primary sector.

State Education Departments set the fees that their schools can impose - typically A$8,000 for a single child, discounted to A$7,200 for each extra sibling.

School principals say the fees from foreign students provide their schools with much-needed cash.