135 primaries affected

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 June, 2008, 12:00am

A total of 135 primary schools have been ordered to cease admissions after failing to attract new students since the schools consolidation policy was introduced in 2003.

Of them, 53 have already closed, a spokeswoman for the Education Bureau said this week.

The 135 schools include six which have been ordered to cease Primary One classes this September, after failing to attract the minimum 21 students in two rounds of enrolments this year. The six appealed the bureau's decision but have been told in the past month that their attempts failed.

Their appeals included applying to operate classes on private funds, seeking to continue admission through the government's allocation system and undergoing a special inspection to prove they were worth continuing.

The bureau said reasons for rejecting the appeals included the schools' failures to show concrete plans to improve areas they were weak in and having not enough resources for supporting students.

Three other schools, which also failed to secure enough students, have temporarily escaped the axe after their appeals were accepted. Two of them were allowed to open privately run classes in September and the other could recruit students through the government's allocation process.

Under the consolidation policy introduced in 2003, schools failing to secure enough students to open one class will be ordered to cease admission the following year.

Hong Kong's birthrate has been falling since the mid-1990s, sparking a dramatic decline in enrolments.