Low-intake schools get reprieve
Elise Choi Ho-yee
Schools at risk of closure because of declining enrolment will be given a one-year reprieve, the South China Morning Post reported.
For the 2010-11 academic year, 30 schools failed to draw 61 students which is the minimum enrolment. Under current policy, those schools will be denied the chance to admit students next year.
However, Secretary for Education Michael Suen Ming-yeung said the process would not be initiated this year. He said he would do his best to keep schools as they are this year.
'What we are doing now is fighting for more time to find an ideal solution. Money is not our main concern. Our main concern is that ... schools can't get enough students. What can we do?' he said.
According to the Education Bureau, 69,000 Primary Six students will graduate to Form One next month, which is 6,000 fewer than last year's figure. The Primary Six population will hit bottom in 2016-17 with only 53,000 graduates.
Lo Sui-kwong, president of the Association of Heads of Secondary Schools for Eastern District, welcomed the one-year reprieve.
'It gives us one more year to discuss and thrash out appropriate policies to deal with the crisis,' he said.
Education officials will be sent to schools to count students numbers on September 15. Schools that find it difficult to draw enough students will be asked to consider options such as merging with another school.