Students put on show of support

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 November, 2008, 12:00am

About 400 students from five schools threatened with closure staged a concert on October 31 to raise public awareness of their plight.

Organised by the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union, the concert aimed to rally public support for three Buddhist schools in Tai Po - Buddhist Hui Yuan College, Buddhist Chi Hong Chi Lam Memorial College, Buddhist Tai Kwong Middle School - and Sung Lan Middle School in Sha Tin, which will lose their Form Four funding next year because of falling student populations.

Students from Shi Hui Wen Secondary School, which was recently spared closure, joined the students from the other four schools to stage the concert in the open-air plaza in front of Shek Wu Hui market in Sheung Shui.

Under the new senior secondary curriculum, only schools with at least three Form Four classes will be subsidised. Schools that cannot run Form Four classes will be closed within a few years. The four schools have only one to two Form Three classes this year.

In a collective show of support, students from the five schools took turns at performing singing and juggling acts on stage.

Buddhist Hui Yuan College principal Sung Lim-ping said the students' versatile talent was proof of the schools' value.

'Our students might not excel academically, but they have a lot of talent,' he said.

'Our school has a very important role to play in society as our classes are specifically tailor-made for students with special needs and those who cannot cope with education at high-banding schools.'

Wong Wai-man, a Form Three student from Sung Lan Middle School, said she was worried that she might have to transfer to another school for Form Four studies next year.

'I love my school a lot. I really don't want it to close,' the 14-year-old said.

One of the highlights of the concert was an inspirational performance by S.h.o.w., a band set up two years ago by four former students of Caritas Satin Marten Foundation Secondary School, which was closed this year. The group of four 20-year-olds is now making the rounds of local schools performing a musical which revolves around their former school.