My Take

How the bureaucrats are failing our good home-grown schools

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 June, 2014, 2:44am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 June, 2014, 2:44am

Our city has perfectly good schools, which sometimes fall on hard times because of greedy landlords and government bureaucrats. You want to know why our education system is going down the drain; it's because of these people.

Take the half-century-old St Margaret's Girls' College on Caine Road in Mid-Levels. I used to live nearby and have always marvelled at how well-mannered its pupils are, their language skills and the easy way in which the Chinese and non-Chinese students mix and befriend each other. Whoever runs this direct-subsidy school which has a high proportion of ethnic-minority students has been doing a good job. It has been described as a "low-cost" international school. But it is facing closure, thanks to a doubling of the rent, and the intransigence of education bureaucrats like Kevin Yeung Yun-hung. I grant you that it's a free market. But I would like to know how the landlord sleeps at night knowing the education of some 400 secondary school students is being jeopardised just so you can make an extra buck.

Meanwhile, Yeung's Education Bureau has assigned a temporary campus to the school, all the way in Sha Tin, but only on condition that it won't accept new students.

Does Mr Yeung happen to be known as the King of Mean? His bureau also refuses to help them find a permanent campus, saying the school should wait till the next batch of available sites. Where? On Mars? Really, this allocation system is for schools that have plenty of time to work through your bureaucracy, but this is clearly an emergency.

This is the same bureau that claims it's doing all it can to help create more international schools. Yet it's content to see this multi-ethnic school go down. But I get it - it's not full of white folks and rich mainlanders, so it's not exactly international now, is it?

This is a repeat of the not-my-problem way in which it deals with the International Montessori School, a decent home-grown international school that, after more than a decade, still has trouble securing a permanent home for its students in Tin Hau, despite being assigned a campus site in Stanley.

Run by overpaid bureaucrats, the government prefers to subsidise big-ticket schools like the Harrow for the rich and connected.