What about all these fees, asks low-income family

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 October, 2007, 12:00am

A low-income family said the three-year extension to free education would fail to ease their burden, as they would still face paying a variety of school fees.

Notices posted on a wall at Mrs Kam's home in Sham Shui Po remind her to pay fees that cover, among other items, exercise books, air-conditioning, extra-curricular activities and buying files.

'What is the point of waiving tuition fees when my husband and I still have to deal with tonnes of different school bills, such as air-conditioning fees and exercise book fees?'

Mrs Kam has two sons, aged 14 and 16, and a four-year-old daughter. Her eldest son is a Form Two student who will study in Form Four in 2009.

Although he will be among the first to benefit from free senior secondary school education, Mrs Kam said the policy could not help ease her economic burden.

'My husband is a construction worker and only makes about HK$5,000 to HK$6,000 a month,' she said. 'I had to borrow money from friends in September for all fees at schools. If the government really wants to help us, it should help us settle all those fees imposed by schools.'

Mrs Kam said that considering the income level of her family, her sons would be able to enjoy full fees remission under the present system, which requires Form Four and Form Five students to pay HK$6,020 a year and Form Six and Seven students HK$9,870. 'I do not see how we poor families can really benefit,' she said.