King's College board meets on class-cut row

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 April, 2011, 12:00am


The school board of King's College met yesterday to discuss why it refused to consider two motions to withdraw the elite school from the government's class-reduction programme and to launch a judicial review into the decision to take part.

Two alumni representatives - Chan Cheuk-biu and Cheng Man-yung - put forward the motions last month to the school management committee, which refused to discuss them. The alumni again threatened to proceed with a judicial review yesterday.

Lam Chiu-ying, chairman of the alumni association and former Observatory director, said the decision in a February meeting to join the class-reduction programme did not follow procedures as no votes were taken among committee members.

'The February meeting was not done according to the constitution ... It's already harming the government's credibility,' he said.

Lam said it was inappropriate for the bureau to announce the school was joining the scheme. 'The school management committee has never passed such a motion,' he said.

Secretary for Education Michael Suen Ming-yeung said in February that the elite school in Sai Ying Pun would join the voluntary class reduction scheme to cut one Form One classes in September.

The programme is part of the government's cost-cutting measures in response to declining birth rates. More schools face closure because they fail to meet admission quotas.

Another elite school, Wah Yan College in Kowloon, pulled out of the scheme last month after some alumni members threatened to reduce their donations.

The parents and alumni of many elite schools do not want to join the programme as they have no difficulty in filling classes.

But the bureau called on all schools to cut one Form One classes last March to preserve teachers' jobs and avoid school closures over the next five years. This was to prepare for an expected big drop in children entering secondary schools.

Initially few schools joined the scheme, so the bureau offered more incentives in a revised proposal in October. Some 200 schools now say they will cut classes.

Only 53,900 pupils are expected to join Form One in 2016, 20 per cent fewer than this year.