• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 10:23am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 February, 2013, 6:08am

Public schools are for officials' kids, too

I have a sure way to improve the quality of our public school system. Let's force our senior officials who are parents, especially those in charge of education policy, to send their children to government and publicly funded schools. If it's good enough for us, it ought to be for them.

Our mandarins have devised school policy for the children of the masses while sending their own to elite schools, and English Schools Foundation and international schools - usually at public expense with their generous education allowance. If they had their own skin in the game, I guarantee our public system would improve in no time. OK, such enforcement would probably be illegal. So, failing that, how about revealing the kind of schools - just their types, not their names - they have sent their children to? Something drastic needs to be done.

A new Institute of Education study has made a highly disturbing finding about extreme inequality in education. The researcher, Professor Chou Kee-lee, found that children of high-income families grab far more university places than those from lower income groups. Of course, you can say that happens everywhere, but the numbers he came up with ought to shake us out of complacency.

In 2011, the enrolment rate among richer families was 3.7 times greater than that among the poor, compared with 1.2 times in 1991. And 48.2 per cent of 19- and 20-year-olds from richer families were enrolled at universities, compared with 13 per cent from lower income groups. In 1991, the figures were much closer at 9.3 per cent and 8 per cent for the rich and poor, respectively.

The findings must be seen in the context of a rapid expansion of university places. This means more students, from both rich and poor backgrounds, attended university in the past 20 years. But the richer families grab a much bigger slice of the pie. When you are well-off, your children go to good schools, which in turn send more graduates to university. So the trick is to make sure public schools are good enough to compete.

Where did ex-officials who made a complete mess of education reform, people like Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, Arthur Li Kwok-cheung and Michael Suen Ming-yeung - send their children to study? It may help if they can explain themselves.


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John Adams
Alex - you are 100% correct
Cut the civil servants' educational allowances for their kids so they either have to pay out of their own pockets if they want to send their kids to private schools ( whether in HK or world-wide) or else send them to local Govt. schools
My ( Chinese) sister-in-law was a teacher in a Govt school . I once compared her total salary + benefit package with what I got as a very well-paid company managing director and it was almost the same by the time she added in all the "invisible" benefits of educational allowances which allowed her to send her 3 kids to private schools in the UK cost- free ( including even air-fares )
No wonder civil servants don't take HK education policy seriously when they they get those kind of benefits for their own kids
All I know is that I will do everything within my power to secure the best chances in life for my children.
What’s most important is not bureaucrats do
what they deem good for their own
It’s whether what they deem good is actually good
A head of university with a music faculty
“successfully” steered his son from
the usual rich youth’s fixation with musical instruments
to medicine in which he graduated from Cambridge
Is that “good” and “successful” education?
Some bureaucrats are mesmerized by apartheid liberalsim
DSS seems like a local version of
ESF’s colonial style public education
Is that “good”?
Or should we promote government schools like “King’s” and “Queen’s”
* mentioning these monikers gives me goose skin *
for better, wiser, and patriotic bowtie and CY of the future.
Yes, I include patriotism and consider it a virtue
But of course, my meaning of patriotism may be different from yours
Well educated parents
whose children show ability of adapting to local education
who are confident of supplementing them with broad visions
don’t necessarily send them abroad or to international schools
for primary and secondary education
whether or not the perk includes overseas education
Education necessitates recognition and optimization
of abilities and circumstances which vary in degree and kind.
A Lo.
Try not to mix up your Catholic upbringing and journalism
You don’t ask people to confess in public
Like you asked of Law, Li, Suen about their children
Info like that is in the public domain;
known to some and unknown to most
So, you should report what you know
As for confession, which is personal
you should begin with self-illustration
What or what kind of schools do you send your children?

It was the British colonial practice to provide education allowance to "senior" civil servants to send their children to school in England starting from a fairly young age so that the colonial mentality would continue. Such practice should have been abolished long ago.
Good idea but impossible to enforce. Abolish the education subsidy instead. Surely these overpaid people can afford school fees if they choose private schools.
What overpaid people? The evil is that all the children of Hong Kong have been subjected to the politically correct agenda of post-handover administrations who had anything but the interests of the students in mind. The self-interested Arthur Li began it by dishonestly doctoring the Director of Audit's report on the ESF and **** up the local education system with his ill thought out "mother tongue" based system. Native Cantonese speakers don't need to be taught in their own tongue; they know it very well already. They need to be able to compete in the world's market place and, whether you like it or not, that means learning decent English.
All children deserve an equal chance based on merit. Now it seems the only children who will have a decent education are those whose parents are civil servants and the well - off, especially landlords.


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