Secondary classes cut, schools risk closure

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 February, 2010, 12:00am

Secondary schools are now having the same problems that primary schools have faced in recent years. Over the past five years, 72 primary schools and 12 public secondary schools have closed.

The impact on secondary schools was revealed late last year, with an Education Bureau guidebook showing that 30 first-year classes had been cut this academic year.

Gone are the days when the average subsidised secondary school form had six classes, each bursting with 40 students. Now it has three to five classes, with a minimum enrolment of 61 students. Schools that fail to reach the 61 student threshold risk closure.

There are currently 62,000 local Primary Six students, a drop of 7,000 from last year, according to Education Bureau figures. The situation is worse at lower grades, with fewer than 50,000 pupils in Primary Two.

Secretary for Education Michael Suen Ming-yeung has visited the hardest-hit areas - including Tuen Mun, Tai Po and Sha Tin - and held talks with secondary school council heads on ways to handle the surplus of school places and teaching staff.