ESF won't raise fees in next academic year

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 March, 2009, 12:00am

The English Schools Foundation (ESF) has announced a freeze in fees for the next academic year.

In an e-newsletter to parents yesterday, the foundation said fees for the 2009-2010 academic year would remain unchanged 'given the continued economic uncertainty in Hong Kong and across the globe'. The measure comes with a salary freeze for all staff.

It added: 'When the economy eventually recovers we are likely to see a rebound in inflation, but the uncertainty around the length and depth of the current economic downturn has led us to be sensitive to the market conditions and avoid imposing any additional costs on parents at this time.'

The ESF had raised school fees for its 15,000 students for three consecutive years, starting from the 2006-2007 year. It is the first time that chief executive Heather Du Quesnay has implemented a freeze in school fees since her appointment in 2005.

Fees for primary pupils are currently HK$58,100 a year - a rise of 7 per cent on last year - and HK$89,250 for secondary students, up 5 per cent.

Debbie Hui Lai-bing, whose two children are studying at ESF schools, said her bigger concern was that the foundation should stop using parents' money to finance its two private schools.

The government provided subventions for ESF schools except for two opened after the handover, Ms Hui said. Poor financing for the two schools had prompted school fee rises, she said.

'As long as this matter remains unsolved, there may be more increases in fees in the future.'