Fund to help students cope with high fees
By BENSON CHAO
THE high school fee for secondary forms has prompted Raimondi College to set up an education fund for needy students.
Under the Reverend Joseph Carra Memorial Education Grants, set up in 1992, 63 senior secondary students (Forms Four to Seven) across the territory were awarded $1,500 each last week for their commitment to community service and studies despite financial difficulties.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, college principal and director of the fund Alberto Morales said: 'In government-aided schools, senior education costs $3,500 to $5,500 a year not including tong fai - a classroom facility fee - which varies from school to school.
'At tertiary-level, the sharp increase in the annual fee from $17,000 to $24,000 (up by 41.2 per cent) has made it difficult for about 2,000 students to cope with it.' At the beginning of the academic year, heads of secondary schools were invited to nominate one student for the grant, after which nominated student's financial needs, family circumstances, academic performance, conduct and participation in school and community activities, would be assessed.
Last year, 33 senior secondary school students were awarded $1,000 each.
'For the next school year, we plan to increase both the number of awards as well as the amount of the grant for each awardee. We also hope to set up another award scheme for tertiary students because of the steep rise in tuition fees,' said Reverend Father Tsang Hing-mun, John Baptist ,the chairman of the fund.
One of the awardees, Stella Mui Wing-ki of Pope Paul VI College, told Young Post that she had to pay a monthly fee of about $500.
'I'm now tutoring a Form Three student to help him tackle science subjects, whereas I have to keep an eye on my own studies.
'Though I am very pleased with the $1,500 grant, it is not really enough to cover the cost of reference books,' said the Form Six science student.
She said a biology reference would cost more than $300 and on top of that there were other expenses, such as the cost of photocopying notes in school, which she had to pay every month.
Another awardee, Chu Pik-kwan of Holy Family Canossian College, who obtained the Grantham Scholarship a few years ago, said in order to lessen the financial burden on her family, she had to take up part-time tutoring.
Set up in the memory of the late Father Carra, who was the supervisor of the college for 33 years, the grant is funded by donations from college patrons, parents, old students and some fund-raising projects.