• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 6:24pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 August, 2013, 3:01am

Why not have Hong Kong schools in Shenzhen?

Our government loves international schools. So it's not clear why it doesn't jump at the idea of setting up our own schools on the mainland, that is, the equivalent of Hong Kong running its own "international" schools.

The idea was first floated by Michael Tien Puk-sun, a veteran political operator and a Hong Kong delegate to the National People's Congress. It will address the problem of children born in Hong Kong to a mainland parent or two who send them over the border to attend local schools.

This has created competition for school places in North district and forced some locals to attend out-of-district schools, another irritant that is causing growing resentment against mainlanders. The Ministry of Education is receptive to the idea. Shenzhen authorities are keen to study it. If they go ahead, such schools would indeed be like international schools because they would be categorised as "schools for foreigners" in Shenzhen. Such schools will also benefit Hong Kong children of Hong Kong parents living in Shenzhen. What's not to like?

In a reply, the bureau said: "The suggestion [involves] a complex topic and has deep-seated impact, so we must study it in great detail and with careful consideration." That's bureaucratic talk for saying we are not interested.

One concern is that the population of such children in Shenzhen and southern provinces will decline. Actually, it's more likely that they will rise. The border separating us will not be closed forever. In any case, what's wrong with operating international (Hong Kong) schools? Until recently, that was in fact the original definition of international schools in Hong Kong - a school that is funded by the government of its country and follows its national curriculums.

The government here is always encouraging others to open more international schools. Why not try it ourselves on the mainland? If they are well run, you never have to worry about not having students.

Of course, the people who actually run the bureau - and I don't mean our ever clueless Eddie Ng Hak-kim - are among the most conservative, retrograde and unresponsive bureaucrats in the government. They are averse to any plan that might challenge the existing system and status quo.

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This article is now closed to comments

impala
This is not about people just working in Shenzhen. This is about people living (and working) in Shenzhen who happen to hold the permanent right of abode in Hong Kong (but aren't using it). If it is feasible to live in Shenzhen and send your child to school in Hong Kong, surely it is also feasible to live in Hong Kong and work in Shenzhen. It is called commuting. If you want to live AND work in Shenzen, fine too, but then why should Hong Kong taxpayers (who all do live in Hong Kong) still shoulder the costs of your child's education? If I move to Vancouver (or wherever), should I also expect Hong Kong to pay for and facilitate my child's education there, because the child has the permanent right of abode in HK?

And of course it is about Hong Kong paying the cost. There are plenty of perfectly good international private schools in Shenzhen already. But those are of course very expensive. These people send their child to a public Hong Kong school because they want something better than Shenzhen public schools (understandably so) yet can't or don't want to afford the private schools there.

Building a HK-curriculum private school in Shenzhen is not what Mr Lo is talking about. That can be done by anybody tomorrow. He is suggesting the Hong Kong government, financed by Hong Kong resident taxpayers, builds and operates schools in Shenzhen. I think that is an outrageous idea.
lucifer
How will you teach all the forbidden subjects? This is a foolish idea, but coming from a pro-CCP stalwart, it can be expected.
We would not want our kids educated in CHian ebcause they will come home brainwashed. This is called forced assimilation.
johnyuan
Building Hong Kong schools in Shenzhen that is paid and administered by Hong Kong government albeit questionable if financially justifiable – lacking in revenue base, is a small but a beginning of an idea. I for one want the two cities make BIG PLAN. Shenzhen allows Hong Kong to move its border further north. Hong Kong would pay rent for the extra land and run the place according to Hong Kong law and economic system that generate tax and revenue. Hopefully, Hong Kong gets a new lease on life for its endless problems mostly about land shortage. Shenzhen may willing to do so knowing that statistically the ‘diminished’ part of Shenzhen will still inhabited by mostly Shenzhen citizens who are waiting to move to Hong Kong anyway. Hong Kong developers would jump to joy and sing that happy days are here again. The local Hong Kong people will sing too because new shopping malls will be built in the new area thus reducing mainlanders visiting the old part of the city. I shall not overlook that local school educators will be happy too – no new policy need to be implemented.
jandajel
Why not just build more schools in the north district and transfer teachers from underutilized schools to them? This problem seems rather simple to solve, especially when everyone can see it coming in advance.
donniemcm
You just pointed out why lot of HKers are filled with rage seeing mainland people using (hence stealing) HK ressources and not contributing to its development.
The money they spend don't go into HK people pocket but only the company or the tycoons.
crbfile
some HK'ers are forced by economic necessity to work in Shenzhen. Do you want to lose those people to the Mainland or do you want to keep them tied to HK as much as possible? Do you want their lives to be more difficult after they're forced to work in SZ or would it be better if they weren't stressed by leaving their children or forcing them into a Mainland school? ..and who says HK has to pay for the school. Surely a HK school could be a big money maker in Shenzhen. Besides, SZ and HK are neighbors, we're not talking about the north pole or Hawaii...
impala
Before we even get into talking about a solution like this, can somebody explain by what policy principle 'Hong Kong children' (I assume this means children with the permanent right of abode in Hong Kong) who don't live in Hong Kong get to attend Hong Kong public schools in the first place?

If they are not actually resident in Hong Kong, why do they get to use Hong Kong public facilities? Whether we are talking about Hong Kong, London or Honolulu: it seems like a no-brainer that you don't offer your city's public facilities to people not living in your city. We have a territorial taxation system. These families not living in Hong Kong, and do not pay Hong Kong taxes. They pay mainland taxes instead, so let them use Shenzhen public education and other facilities.

How is it a sound and sustainable policy to let non-residents use our public facilities at will?
Camel
Dear Alex. Who is going to pay for those schools? why not restricting schools only for residents living in HK?. (working in HK and paying taxes)
scmpgt
HK classes taught in Traditional Chinese on communist soil. That is a recipe for anti-harmonious society. Sorry try again.
chaz_hen
Actually, not a bad idea. And for all those super patriotic HKers that want their kids to have "national education", I'm sure it will be mandatory in Shenzhen!

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