629 schools apply for study subsidy
Up to 629 schools have applied for subsidies for underprivileged children to go on overseas study tours. These short-term programmes are a common summer activity for children from middle-class families.
The financial support, capped at HK$3,000, is provided as part of the Community Care Fund, which helps students who would not otherwise be able to afford such fees.
About 300 secondary and 300 primary schools have applied on behalf of students, with the rest coming from special education schools.
The benefit also involves the travel industry, with some tour companies reportedly asking for bigger subsidies from universities and tourism departments in some countries to lower the cost to parents.
The companies are also shortening tour itineraries to about four days to keep costs within the budget.
Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen set up the HK$10billion fund last October as part of his policy address for various social programmes.
Up to HK$165.9 million was set aside to subsidise study tours for some 240,000 students from poor families.
Funds will be equally provided by the government and Hong Kong businesses.