International schools in Hong Kong

International school sites still needed

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 May, 2013, 2:51am

My colleagues and I at the Harbour School appreciate the Education Bureau's efforts to address the shortage of international school placements in Hong Kong through the recent allocation exercise of four redundant school sites.

We were among the dozens of organisations that bid for one or more of these sites.

Our school was selected for the shortlist for the Stanley site that was ultimately awarded to the International Montessori School.

Although these efforts by the bureau are to be applauded, they are not sufficient to meet the burgeoning need for more seats in schools that serve Hong Kong's international community. The bureau has itself admitted this.

Late last year Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim, when speaking to the Legislative Council, projected that the city will face a shortage of 4,200 international primary school places by 2016 despite the planned expansion in the next five years.

Without sufficient capacity for students at international schools, as has been widely reported in the press and publicly noted by the British and American chambers of commerce among others, we may see the international business community shun Hong Kong as a point of relocation. Such an outcome would, of course, hurt all citizens of Hong Kong, not just the parents of international school students.

We stand ready to help the bureau address the shortage of international school places.

Since 2007, when we opened with seven students at a location in Kennedy Town, we have grown to almost 200 students this year.

Also, since 2007, we have been in constant communication with the bureau about our need for more space to grow to meet demand for enrolment.

We hope our colleagues in the bureau will not sit back and consider the job done with the recent allocation exercise's conclusion.

This laudable effort should be considered just the beginning of addressing the problem, not the end.

We look forward to hearing from bureau staff about plans to assist schools like ours meet the need for more international school places in Hong Kong.

Jadis Blurton, principal, the Harbour School