School seeks higher fees, offers poor more help
A Christian secondary school aims to become an elite school for all classes, enrolling as many as a third of its pupils from underprivileged families.
The 75-year-old Heep Yunn School in Ma Tau Wai, Kowloon City, is awaiting a government decision on whether it can become a Direct Subsidy Scheme school. Compared with other aided schools, DSS schools can charge higher fees and offer a more flexible curriculum.
Despite complaints from some parents that the school should not 'rob the rich to help the poor', Heep Yunn plans to reserve 30 per cent of its fee income for scholarships and fee remission schemes if it becomes a DSS school - well above the government's requirement of 10 per cent. 'I hope that everyone from different classes can enjoy quality education,' principal Clara Lau said yesterday.
The school's pledge comes amid rising concern that poor children cannot afford to enter elite schools, many of which are run under the scheme.
Heep Yunn has applied to join the scheme from the 2012/13 academic year. Dave Lee Chun-hung, who will take over as principal after Lau retires in August, said that ultimately about 30 per cent of students could come from lower-income families.
Asked about concerns over the Heep Yunn management's ability to run a direct subsidy school, Lau said her team would uses its experience and exert vigilance over financial management and procurement.
DSS schools were reprimanded in an audit report last year that catalogued financial malpractice in all but one of the scheme schools.
Meanwhile, Heep Yunn has dropped a plan to make it compulsory to study French or Spanish.