Boys' school says it will not take part in urine tests for drugs
The elite Diocesan Boys School says it will not take part in any voluntary drug-testing programme involving urine samples because it doubts the effectiveness of a pilot scheme.
The head of the Mong Kok school said the government trial being conducted in schools in Tai Po is unsuitable for its students, Tom Cheung Ting-wai, president of the school's student council, said.
'The headmaster thinks we should be more focused on preventing drug problems than on doing things to patch up holes,' he said.
The student council is mulling an alternative drug-testing measure involving hair, a method other international schools are considering.
The school may launch an alternative scheme in September, Cheung said.
In December, psychiatrists cast doubt on the drug-testing scheme in Tai Po, questioning its effectiveness and saying it was probably a waste of money. The College of Psychiatrists said there was evidence the two objectives - deterrence and finding young abusers early - would not be achieved under the programme.
In the same month, researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology developed a method of analysing hair samples that provided much more accurate information than urine samples in drug tests.
Karl Tsim Wah-keung, a professor of Chinese medicine, said the new method could overcome a range of challenges to urine tests, such as privacy intrusion and cut the cost of current hair-test technology.
Meanwhile, Diocesan Boys School is downsizing its classes, cutting the number of pupils in each primary class from 30 to 25. The number of pupils in secondary classes will be cut to less than 30. The number of classes will increase by more than 20, and 30 to 40 new teachers will have to be recruited.
The school's governing board has also decided not to admit girls into its new International Baccalaureate programme from September after a consultation.