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  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 8:14am
NewsHong Kong

Education secretary pledges children will be educated where they live

Minister promises children will be educated in district where they live, but it is unclear how schools will absorb the 1,400 extra enrolments

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 February, 2013, 10:20am

The education secretary has promised "special arrangements" to ensure that children in the northern New Territories will get a school place in the district where they live despite intense pressure on schools from cross-border pupils.

"We pledge to increase the number of Primary One school places in North District in order to accommodate the wishes of these children to study within the same district," Eddie Ng Hak-kim said yesterday.

But parents and educators questioned how schools could be expanded to absorb 1,400 extra pupils - the estimated shortage of places - before the next school year starts in September.

One principal said it could mean expanding the size of classes to 38, 10 more than the citywide standard.

Schools are under pressure from an influx of children born in Hong Kong to mainland parents as well as offspring of local families living across the border.

Education officials said earlier that giving priority to children of local parents could be considered, but this was condemned by critics as discriminatory.

Yesterday Ng stopped short of such a measure, but said mainland parents would be encouraged to enrol their children in other districts.

Earlier, Ng and other Education Bureau officials had said schools in border areas such as Sheung Shui could expand capacity by renovation and increasing class sizes. "We are OK to push [the class size] to 38," North District Primary School Heads Association chairman Chan Siu-hung said. "But we are not sure if parents will be happy with it."

He also warned that the quality of teaching could be compromised if the authorities did not provide adequate resources.

Ng said the guarantee of a place for northern students was a "special arrangement" made in response to surging demand.

While the overall shortfall has been put at 1,400, a bureau spokesman said that with parents willing to send their children elsewhere to study the actual number of children failing to secure a place in their district of residence could be as small as 300.

The lawmaker for the education sector, Ip Kin-yuen, said he welcomed Ng's pledge but doubted whether school capacity could be increased much in the space of a few months.

North District councillor Lau Kwok-fun said he expected classes in the area to be more crowded. He urged the government to allocate the necessary resources to help schools cope.

North District parent-teacher representative Eacy Chan said the association welcomed the government's move.

Officials earlier said other than expanding classes, more classrooms would be built in selected campuses to increase capacity.

Ng said yesterday that after the allocation results were announced in June, parents living near the border, whose children were allocated to a school outside their district, should register with the bureau.


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This article is now closed to comments

This problems are just a tip of the iceberg caused by useless AO led government without insight. Rather than developing an immigration policy to support HK, they letter mainland moms to give birth to make the doctors and developers wealthier. remember Tsang and the then Chow was saying nothing can be done? The issue now just started as these 200k kids will go thru diff stages and will consume al lot of resource but with no guarantee they will stay in HK once grown up to contribute.
BTW, legco members are equally responsible including the Pam dem as they just know how to scream and yell but no doing anything to stop the mess.
This problem is only the beginning!
Let me elaborate one more time why this is atypical AO lead government problem. As they mostly follow procedures and the current law. According to the then procedures, there was nothing wrong allowing the birth of mainland babies according to law and procedures, that's why they won't think out of the box to stop it. By as HK had been colonized for so long that we worship AO the best civil servants in the world...etc etc....please elect Carrie Lam to be the next CE if you want to keep worshipping AO....they are clean, honest, trustworthy, great integrity etc etc....are they? is her best and most recognized accomplishment was to crack down illegal construction in NT but without knowing there is a big shortage of housing here? Because she followed the book those are illegal. But never question whether the law was outdated. That's more a priority than addressing the housing needs as it was not on the book of law, right? Wake up HK people!


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