• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 4:19pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 June, 2013, 2:11am

Decision to end ESF subsidy a lesson in Machiavellian ruthlessness

Shock and horror! Fees for schools under the English Schools Foundation from 2016 will be at least 23 per cent higher as the government phases out the public subsidy.

But you would expect that. The die was cast once the Education Bureau announced it would phase out the current subsidy. You want to know how much ESF parents will eventually have to pay? Just check out the fees of other international schools.

The decision to end the subsidy after freezing payment for a decade may go down in history as one of the most ruthless made by this administration. But before you pick up your pitchfork and bay for blood, it's not entirely the fault of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and his education secretary, Eddie Ng Hak-kim. Of course it is their fault for allowing it to happen. But I am actually not sure they know what they are doing with the ESF in the sense they almost certainly did not come up with the policy decision - those immediately below Ng within the bureau did.

There is an almost Machiavellian elegance to the decision - if you discount its irresponsibility, unfairness and immorality. You can be sure our clueless Mr Ng would never come up with something so clever; this is reserved for the senior administrative officials within the bureau, not a few of whom - I bet - are, or were, ESF parents.

Let's see what this decision really means. Taxpayers' money will be saved. The ESF is certain to prosper, as it will be able to charge high fees and million-dollar debentures on a par with other international schools. The government can claim it is helping to boost international school places without lifting a finger. It is also a populist decision as many local families resent the real or perceived special treatment given to the ESF as an old colonial institution.

But it is never explained why it is no longer the government's responsibility to support affordable education for non-Chinese-speaking children of residents or permanent residents. Nor is it clear why local families should be left to their own devices once they leave the local system and join the international school sector.

But the reality is that these families are on their own unless they can pay the high school fees.

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pslhk
Re your non-query about
“why it is no longer the government's responsibility to support affordable education for non-Chinese-speaking children of residents or permanent residents “ and “why local families should be left to their own devices once they leave the local system and join the international school sector”
-
Perhaps AL is expecting new family members in addition to MBF
But ESF should never be the only alternative
There are far better ways to take care of those in need
As I commented on today’s news on the same topic:
-
ESF is innately incapable of being an honorable recipient of public subsidies
Maliciously, it
(1) pretends being HK’s only English-medium school
(2) perpetrates segregation through discrimination against Cantonese speakers,
whom the colonist fear, using language as the pretext
(3) promotes its hypocritical band of double standard as a fair game
(4) divides society by forming a weird community of overpaid employees and pampered students
(5) admits companies and not just children for admission to its subsidized “education”
…. (N)
For the next 13 years and more,
esf should
learn to be graceful, and
teach its parochial community gratitude

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