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  • Dec 24, 2014
  • Updated: 10:06am

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

ESF considers corporate scheme for school places

Faced with financial losses due to subsidy cuts, foundation may launch scheme where firms could reserve places for employees' children

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 June, 2013, 4:16am

The English Schools Foundation (ESF) may launch a corporate nomination rights scheme to make up for its financial losses as the government gradually cuts its subsidy.

Companies would be able to pay to reserve school places for the children of employees.

From 2016, the foundation's long-frozen HK$283 million annual subsidy, or subvention, will be phased out year by year, over 13 years, until 2028-29.

In announcing the news yesterday, ESF chairman Carlson Tong Ka-shing said it had no choice but to accept the Education Bureau's decision.

Chief executive Heather Du Quesnay said: "We did what we could and got the best arrangement we could for parents and students."

She said a few companies had indicated interest in purchasing nomination rights to reserve school places, but no final decision had been made.

The ESF introduced a similar scheme on a limited scale last year, allowing local and foreign parents to pay a non-refundable fee of HK$500,000 to reserve a place for their child, who would be given priority placement should they meet admission requirements.

Reduced government support means fees at the ESF's 20 schools and kindergartens will rise by 23 per cent for new students from 2016. Current pupils and those about to enter its kindergartens will not be affected.

With the increase, fees for primary pupils would exceed HK$84,000 a year compared with HK$70,000 for the coming year. But that will still be lower than a number of popular international schools, which now charge more than HK$110,000 a year. "Our secondary school fees are currently at average and will still be in the lower two-thirds [compared to other international schools]," said Tong, expressing confidence in ESF schools' competitiveness.

A bureau spokesman said: "Continual provision of recurrent subvention to the ESF flies in the face of the government's policy of not providing recurrent subsidy to schools mainly running non-local curriculum."

Others, however, strongly believe in the subsidy. Public policy consultant David Dodwell said: "By offering local families more choice, and by delivering consistently excellent results, ESF schools force schools teaching in Cantonese to do better."

Janice Chu, whose daughter attends Sha Tin College, said: "The subvention represents a kind of support for a sound educational model that develops students' international outlook and self-confidence, besides English language skills."

A single mother whose son is in Year 9 at West Island School said she felt sorry for future parents. "Not everyone is on expatriate deals or has corporate support. I have to find the fees."



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The concept that not funding ESF and the money going to local schools is 100% wrong! The Hong Kong government has tons of cash. It is swimming in cash. It should be a no brainier to fund ESF schools.
We can spend 40 billion on a cultural district that will end up being a piece of junk that will continuously cost the government money but our government cannot fund schools!
Hong Kong government is totally in the pocket of developers and don't give a **** about any kids but their own. They don't even ensure the local system is any good as it too is underfunded and decreasing in quality daily.
Why not raise the bar for all local schools, rather than lowering the bar for ESF schools?
can the EDB make a statement that it is also withdrawing its 80% sponsorship of ESF fees for Govt servants who now send their children to ESF ?
To do otherwise would be hypocritical
Better do that soon while there are still some ministers in this Govt who have not yet been arrested for past transgressions or current incompetence
The HK Government should not fund ANY schools with schooling subvention fees whether private or Government - instead they should allocate every child born in HKG or with a permanent ID card a like fixed yearly amount towards their school and where the parents decide to spend it on chosen education is the equitable way forward
At present children whose mother tongue is not Cantonese are being discriminated against by a bureau supposedly responsible under UNHCR rights of the child for the education of all children in Hong Kong without prejudice to race , language or ethnicity.
It's high time the Education Bureau puts the Hong Kong education system back on the drawing board and completely overhauls the handling of private and international schools.
In Hong Kong it is mandatory by law that each and every child has to be schooled. And under the equal opportunity concept the government has to provide for each and every pupil. Being it in the form of public schools or by subsidising private/international schools. Why are pupils visiting private/international schools being discriminated and do not receive the same financial support students of public schools receive ? Each student of a public school costs the government **** HKD per year. Why doesn't the Hong Kong government supports each student of a private/international school with e.g. **** - 20% like it is done in other countries ?
Parents of students in public and private schools are subject to the same income tax and should be entitled to the same benefits provided by the government.
Today the government saves billions of HKD every year on the students attending private schools because the government doesn't need to provide public school places for these students. These saved funds minus 20% should be distributed equally to all private schools on a per student head basis.
The total withdrawal of subsidies penalizes families of non-Cantonese speaking children. We have young three children, we get no education allowance from our employers and will have little choice but to send our children to ESF schools. Each year we pay a considerable amount in tax. But now, with the Government's short-sighted decision, our taxes contribute to others' education but not a penny to our children - we will have to pay again for this with our after-tax income - it will be tough. As the children grow I doubt we'll be able to keep affording it and will be forced to move. To survive ESF has little choice but to go after big corporate money. In effect, the Government is forcing the Foundation to become more and more elite in terms of its intake. This does not make sense given that one of the reasons we told is driving policy change is that ESF is 'too elitist'. The decision seems to have been made to please out-of-date, pretend-socialists like 'pslhk'.
A very valid point you made - your tax penny is used for others children's education only but not for yours !
Can you tell us what the original cause is of your hatred of ESF? Are you a former (or current) pupil, an ESF parent? What is your connection? You hate it too much to have no link at all.
not just ESF, seems he hates anything ****
google 'pslhk Hong Kong netvigator'
does pronouncing PS sound like Pierce ? you decide - I guess he has also a twin brother 'whymak'
SCMP comment posts
Pslhk Nov 22 2008 'In terms of social contribution, expatriates are the modern-day equivalent of Chinese railroad builders in 19th century North America. They have come and stayed because Hong Kong is the best, if not the only, place for the use of their talents. We don't need expatriates as 21st century colonialists with anachronistic privileges'
Pslhk SCMP Feb 22nd 2013 12:20pm What's in a name? At wit's end, piteously name calling is your last trick
I don't feel your hate-the-white-man feeling in Pierce Lam's letter which is certainly your own
I do recognize that he despises dumb and loud trash regardless of color; and of course, white trash sympathises with white trash
I am astounded SCMP allows such xenophobic kak on their blogs
ESF is innately incapable of being an honorable recipient of public subsidies
Maliciously, it
(1) pretends being HK’s only English-medium school
(2) perpetrates segregation through discrimination against Cantonese speakers,
whom the colonist fear, using language as the pretext
(3) promotes its hypocritical band of double standard as a fair game
(4) divides society by forming a weird community of overpaid employees and pampered students
(5) admits companies and not just children for admission to its subsidized “education”
…. (N)
It is unreasonable for expats to demand HK to provide good and less expansive education for their children. Local schools for local children should take precedence when come to budget distribution. However, it is not to say expats are locked out of ESF school system. All expats worthy to their employer are valuable employees who would or should be given with adjusted compensation for their children’s future higher education expanse. The option for leaving HK for a better place is certainly one’s prerogative. For those locals who hitchhike on the ESF may have some room for grievance. They should demand ESF or the like with affordability because HK government is obligated towards its citizens. In fact, Hong Kong government is obligated to provide good education to all its citizens just like all progressive governments do. Education for the international community due to commerce should rightly to follow the marketplace. ESF for the British civil servants has lived out of its justification and rightly it is finally a close chapter in HK history. Let us all move on for the better. For all for a change? Should this be the thinking by the officials?



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