• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 10:20am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 July, 2014, 3:59am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 July, 2014, 3:59am

Education Bureau effectively killing off St Margaret's Girls' College

The Education Bureau would rather kill a successful school than take extra steps to save it.

In doing so, they have insisted on bureaucratic rules and procedures to make themselves look blameless and impartial. But in trying to absolve themselves of any responsibility for the predicament the school faces, they make themselves even guiltier.

The school in question is St Margaret's Girls' College, in Mid-Levels, now being forced to relocate to Sha Tin. In a recent letter to this newspaper, principal education officer Li Mei-fun said the relocation meant the secondary school is opting out of the direct subsidy scheme (DSS), will voluntarily stop admitting new secondary one students, and will self-terminate after five years when all its current student graduate. In other words, the relocation is a voluntary suicide. Really?

That's not what the school wants, and certainly not what the parents of 450 students, many from ethnic-minority families, want. The school has been forced out of its site on Caine Road because of doubling rent. But it's not just about greedy landlords.

The school belongs to DSS, which mandates its member schools to own the premises they operate in to ensure secured tenure. Four years ago, the government auditor pointed this out about the precarious position of St Margaret's. Both the school's operators and the bureau failed to rectify it. So yes, the school operators are responsible, and they should share the blame.

But the bureau clearly realises the school wants to continue. Why else would Li write: "The school must provide concrete arrangements to guarantee a complete secondary education for the students and secured premises for its long-term use if it is to continue admitting Secondary One (S1) students." But by barring the school from admitting new S1 students at the Sha Tin campus, the bureau is effectively killing it.

Yet Li portrays the no-new-admissions policy as if it were voluntary. If the school must apply for a site tendering application, why did the bureau lend it the Sha Tin site? This shows it could grant a site if it wanted to.

I believe officials at the bureau are still human beings. Is it too much to ask them to behave like decent educators rather than heartless bureaucrats?


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This article is now closed to comments

The officials of the bureau are not educators. They care only for HK's ranking in the world.
11 homework for a primary two in one day? That's cruelty.
Research after research say that the majority of Hong Kong local primary school children will encounter back problems growing up due to the weight of their school bags. And what had the bureau ever done?
What happens to St. Margaret would not have happened in any civilized society.
AL may be beating a dead horse for writing again and again on St. Margaret’s shameful tragedy in the hand of its landlord and the Education Bureau.
But I don’t think AL’s effort is a waste. It is worth every word he writes to fight for some education rights.
We mostly have progressed in a more civilized world, but there are some who are left behind.
The Education Bureau in Hong Kong has had not much contribution towards what its intrinsic mandate in educating Hong Kong school children impartially but whole heartily to all. Its outright discriminative act veiling behind bureaucratic rule is downright shameful and primitive.
Name those individual bureaucrats who are handling the demise of St. Margaret so to be shamed of their uncivilized behavior that have not catch on with the civilized world.
St Margaret’s and Sacred Heart Canossian Commercial
are catholic girls schools within a boy’s pee distance
The former, popular and important for students of ethnic minorities in the island
is moving to Shatin, over an hour’s away in the best traffic condition
whereas the latter is closing down because of insufficient students
SHCC’s colossal school building is vacant
SMGS can’t afford its cramped and crowded school building has to move
If only the mad bishop could stop playing absurd politics
and return to good people work!
We may discount Eddie Ng
a foolish coward in whose belly
there isn’t fire, only stool

This looks similar to the hounding of the ESF.


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