• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 8:52am

English Schools Foundation

The English Schools Foundation (ESF) operates five secondary schools, nine primary schools and a school for students with special educational needs across Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. It is the largest international educational foundation in Asia. 

NewsHong Kong

Anger over 'disastrous' plan to raise ESF fees

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 March, 2013, 4:05am

The English Schools Foundation's fee-rise plan has upset parents and prompted lawmakers to question its cost structure.

Native English (NET) teacher Perry Bayer, whose son is studying at West Island School, said the increase of up to 5.9 per cent for most ESF schools was "disastrous" for families with young children, given the city's high rents. "They may start thinking whether they can put their children through primary and secondary levels," he said. He added that the move might cause some NET teachers, who valued education, to consider leaving the city, as they could no longer afford education in British schools.

Education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen said the ESF used to pride itself in providing affordable international education.

"The huge increase may destroy the tradition," he said. He urged the foundation to review its cost structure to make room for school fee reductions. "Unlike other international schools, there are many schools under the ESF," he said. "Costs can be saved when they make bulk purchases and enjoy economies of scale."

In a letter to parents, the foundation's chief executive Heather Du Quesnay said it was aware of the impact of fee rises on parents and "very much regrets that this is so".

The increase was announced as the foundation and Education Bureau remain deadlocked over public funding for the schools.

Education chief Eddie Ng Hak-kim has said it is not government policy to provide subsidies to schools that offer a non-local curriculum, as the ESF does.

He also ruled out treating the foundation like direct-subsidy schools - which receive government money but operate largely as private schools - as they are required to teach a local curriculum. But Du Quesnay has said the ESF schools, with their 13,000 students, were a part of Hong Kong.

Bayer said he did not have high hopes for the negotiations, as the government was "playing ball with the ESF".



For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

Eddie Ng Hak-kim and his theory of not subsidizing education in HK that he does not like just does not make any sense. Governments cut back on funding in times of crisis and not in times where there is a massive budget surplus. the government has massive amounts of money and has no logical reason to be cutting back. If anything they should expand funding for ESF and all schools.
Make Hong Kong a place of education and ensure students receive the best possible education. Hong Kong has a birthing problem with one of the worlds lowest birth rates.
either people have more kids or the government must provide far better levels of education to ensure there are quality workers in the future. They should start funding all levels and types of education NOW!!
Du Quesnay must be fired first and foremost for failing to control costs. Every year she comes back with the same story. She lacks credibility and the ability to perform and come up with alternative solutions.
Having said that the government and the education department have failed in their duties by providing us parent with alternatives. The Education Bureaus lack of vision has led us and our children to be held hostage. There are no alternatives for affordable international education.
Are local school able to provide even 75 percent of the 13,000 students with placements in local schools. The government has an excess of cash yet there are no initiatives to improve and fund international education for the people of Hong Kong. It would cost the government more to fund the education of 13,000 children in local schools.
The Government and education department has to act now and provide us with affordable and sustainable alternatives. The government must invest in the education sector; the future of Hong Kong and our children depend on it.


SCMP.com Account