• Mon
  • Nov 24, 2014
  • Updated: 12:00pm

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
EDUCATION

ESF fees could rise 20pc as subsidy phases out

Cost for new students likely to increase sharply from 2016 as the government's HK$284 million subsidy is phased out, internal document shows

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 May, 2013, 7:04am
 

Fees for new students entering the English Schools Foundation from 2016 could be more than 20 per cent higher as the government phases out its decades-old subsidy for the foundation, according to a document seen by the South China Morning Post.

But students now in ESF schools or who join before the cut-off date will enjoy a subsidised education for up to 13 years under the present structure, the internal ESF communication indicates.

The change is the result of drawn-out negotiations between the Education Bureau and the ESF, which officials have described as a "colonial legacy".

It is set to be given final approval by the ESF board and receive the green light from the Executive Council next month.

Based on fees announced recently, a 20 per cent rise would mean the cost for primary students would be as much as HK$84,000 a year compared to HK$70,000 for the coming year.

A 20 per cent rise would mean the cost for primary students would be as much as HK$84,000 a year compared to HK$70,000 for the coming year

The increase is not firm and the exact amounts would depend on final adjustments.

But the news comes at a time of mounting concern about a shortage of international school places and the ability of families to afford them.

ESF chief executive Heather Du Quesnay wrote in an e-mailed reply to a Post query: "We are in discussion with the Education Bureau, as we have been for several months.

"There is a long process which has to take place before any final decision is reached. We cannot make any further comment at this time."

A bureau spokeswoman said it aimed "to report the progress of the review to the Legislative Council panel on education within this legislative session", which ends in July.

The English-language educational foundation was set up in 1967 to run schools for non-Chinese learners, but the government has said it should eventually become a private international school system.

It receives HK$284 million a year in government subsidies.

There has been wide debate about the subsidy's future, with some saying it is an ineffective way of spending public money.

Others contend there is a need to maintain English education because it remains an official language despite the handover.

In March, the foundation announced a 5.9 per cent increase for the next academic year for primary students. Their fees are currently HK$66,100.

The rise for secondary learners will be 3.47 per cent, taking the cost from HK$98,000 to HK$101,400. In Forms 12 and 13, fees will rise by 4.22 per cent, from HK$102,000 to HK$106,300.

It has been estimated that by 2016, the city will be short of 4,200 international school places.

The internal note also said the redevelopment of Island School, which ESF management had said would cost HK$1 billion, would receive HK$270 million of public money based on the criteria also used for building local public schools.

The redevelopment is understood to be part of a deal struck between ESF and bureau officials last week.

The proposal will be put to the ESF board on May 21, when members will be asked to approve it first in principle.

The plans will be made available to parents next month when the board and the Executive Council will consider approval.

Share

For unlimited access to:

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

 

 
 
 
 
 
16

This article is now closed to comments

ctringham
[stupid comment system - deleted duplicate]
ctringham
Thanks. I am quite surprised by those numbers, but I am sure that there are many students who identify themselves as British / Indian / Australian / Canadian who were born in Hong Kong and/or have at least one parent who was born in Hong Kong.

What is your definition of a "Hong Kong national"?
ctringham
I don't think the ESF publishes figures on the number of its students who hold Hong Kong passports, but I'm confident it's significantly more than 9%. And, yes, some of them will also have another passport.
honger
And so, the ESF chair - appointed by the government - has agreed to forgo the subvention proposed by the same government without putting up a fight. Citing colonial legacy, the boys at Tamar have succeeded at last to prise open ESF's Pandora's box, which is its billion dollar property portfolio.
By ending the subvention, the BOG will now be free thereafter to fully embark on its expansion and "joint venture plans" in and out of HK - as boldly set out in its recent annual reports. Let's see when the IPO will be ready.
Colonial legacy? Seems more like the property lobby has triumphed yet again.
Crocodile tears from the chair and CEO, as expected. Are existing parents and students entitled to the shares since parents and students are the biggest stakeholders?
impala
Sounds like the ESF has chosen the way of the largest dollar sign once again.
ejmciii
Well if your subsidy goes away and costs don't change, you need to find revenue somewhere. The government does not want to support English language schools which is its choice, presumably. It is a pretty simple calculus.

Pages

Login

SCMP.com Account

or