ESF - English Schools Foundation

ESF subsidy withdrawal shames SAR

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 May, 2015, 3:18pm

With reference to Alex Lo's column ("A lesson in Machiavellian ruthlessness", June 8) it is refreshing to hear his support for middle-class English-speaking and taxpaying parents who will no longer receive any government support for English education.

I prefer to have my child educated in English. Of course, we are in Asia, and I expect that she learns and enjoys Cantonese and Putonghua as well.

However, I do not want her to be denied opportunities later because she is not proficient in English.

Further, as a child whose native tongue is English, my child will certainly struggle academically in a local school.

Ironically, the above statement is also being made by thousands of local parents, who are making it very clear that they are not satisfied with local schools, and also wish for an affordable English education.

The fact is that my child, though a category one applicant, with two English-speaking parents, was not able to find an English Schools Foundation place for Primary One last year, and is 200th on the waiting list.

This is testament to the huge demand for English education here, and an indictment of the Education Bureau for not foreseeing this problem.

I will leave judgment on the direction of the ESF over the past 10 years to others.

I am having trouble understanding how, having been a taxpayer in Hong Kong for 18 years, I will receive no help whatsoever from the government in the education of my child in one of the two official languages here.

There are now hundreds, perhaps thousands, of families in the same situation here. And then there are the tens of thousands of local parents who also cannot afford private schools and must accept an education system for their children that they evidently do not trust.

The education system here is increasingly becoming divided, and elitist, wherein only wealthy families have a real choice in education, and access to the better schools.

This is exactly the wrong approach in a society that is already struggling with inequality. It is appalling really, and a shame on Hong Kong.

Jeff Gagnon, Central