Oldest girls’ commerce college to close over lack of students

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 January, 2013, 5:22pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 January, 2013, 5:22pm

Sacred Heart Canossian College of Commerce, the oldest girls’ school of commerce in Hong Kong, will close in August due to a shortage of students, according to a notice sent to students.

Founded in 1905, the college, located on Caine Road in Central, is a non-profit-making post-secondary educational institution run by the Daughters of Charity of the Canossian Institute. It has 221 full-time sub-degree students, according to the government’s Information Portal for Accredited Post-secondary Programmes.

On Monday, students received a notice saying the school would stop operating in the coming academic year. Those who have yet to finish their programme may be transferred to Open University, Caritas Institute of Higher Education, the Hong Kong College of Technology or the Caritas Bianchi College of Careers to continue their studies.

Louie Chui, a third-year student with one year left before completing her higher diploma, said she was concerned about the uncertainty this has caused. “We don’t know what we will study,” she said. “We don’t even know whether we will be able to study in the coming year.” She and other students in her year wanted to continue for one more year, to complete their diploma.

During her three years of study at the school, Chui has seen the number of students and teachers dwindle. About two teachers left every year, including some who had taught there for decades, she said.

Another third-year student, who declined to give her name, did not like the school’s suggestion that they try other institutions: “We came here for the Sacred Heart Commerce name. It has over 100 years of history. We do not want to study at other schools.”

An Italian missionary named Clelia Martinelli founded the college in 1905, according to the school’s website. The first class consisted of 25 girls from English, Portuguese, Irish and Chinese families who attended the Italian Convent School. They were taught secretarial skills including shorthand, typing and bookkeeping.

It was later transformed into a sub-degree programme provider for secondary school graduates, launching the accredited Higher Diploma in Business Studies programme in September 2011, which consists of three streams: accounting, management and marketing.

The school could not be reached for comment on Tuesday afternoon.