• Sat
  • Apr 19, 2014
  • Updated: 6:47pm
NewsHong Kong

Local kids to get priority in race for Hong Kong's preschool places

Children living closest to sought-after border kindergartens could be offered places ahead of mainlanders if demand outstrips supply

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 October, 2013, 7:58pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 October, 2013, 11:21am
 

Poll

  • Yes: 93%
  • No: 7%
9 Oct 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 808

Education authorities and kindergarten principals in districts close to the border say they will consider giving priority to local parents for limited preschool places if demand exceeds supply.

The decision, made at a meeting yesterday, comes as increasing numbers of mainland parents flock to border schools in search of places for their children.

Around 60 principals of kindergartens in Tai Po and North District attended the meeting.

If demand outstrips the available number of places, the preschools will consider admitting those who live closest first, said Kwok Chor-kiu, chairman of a local principals' association.

"This is a consensus among us," she said.

Benjamin Yung Po-shu of the Education Bureau said after the meeting that most principals also agreed that parents should be able to access application forms online and there should be measures introduced to prevent parents taking multiple places in different schools.

Wang Yongjun flew to Hong Kong from Henan province last Wednesday to try to secure a place for his son. Wang was one of the first parents to queue up outside Fung Kai Kindergarten in Sheung Shui, where more than 1,500 people have been waiting, some since Saturday, to apply for 240 available places.

Including Fung Kai, Wang has applied to eight kindergartens. His son was born in Hong Kong but does not speak Cantonese.

"My heart will go completely dead if my son can't get into a kindergarten here just because he's not living here," said Wang. "I'm now submitting to the will of heaven. Sometimes I regret having had a child here."

Wang said he would be willing to sell the several properties he owns in Henan, close his company and move to Shenzhen if his son got into a Hong Kong kindergarten.

First in the queue outside Fung Kai was a grandfather from Lo Wu in Shenzhen. He had arrived on Friday and spent the last four nights sleeping in a nearby park. He said it would be worth it as long as his two granddaughters could get into the preschool.

A relative said she had spent HK$1,000 buying a language learning gadget for her grandson to help him learn English to prepare for his interview.

Local parents were frustrated by the government's inaction on the growing chaos.

Mandy Sham Hoi-yan said she had camped overnight outside five different kindergartens and would continue applying for more. She said she was so angry that she wanted to beat up Education Minister Eddie Ng Hak-kim and swear at him.

Michael Wu Ho-yin said he had quit his job with a monthly salary of HK$30,000 to apply to kindergartens for his son. He had so far managed to get seven application forms.

Fung Kai council chairman Ma Siu-leung said the kindergarten had given out 1,600 forms by 3pm yesterday and would give out the rest today. He reassured parents that there would be enough forms and every parent who got one would have a chance of an interview.

 

Share

19

This article is now closed to comments

mercedes2233
I am perplexed. Doesn't it seem 'unpatriotic' for Chinese parents to go to the trouble of giving birth in HK and wanting their children educated in HK? Are they announcing that the facilities in China are not good enough?'
lamlm38
err. HK is part of China now.. what do you mean by "unpatriotic"? unless your are talking abt republic of HK or something :)
don67
It's a fact that these mainland kids are HK residents. However, many countries around the world do treat resident and non-resident citizens differently. If the HK government plays it's cards right and "discourages" (but not ban) mainland pupils from coming to study, it could also help to reduce the number of mainland mothers wanting to give birth here even long after CY Leung's mainland mother ban becomes history. On the other hand, if HK is so accommodating (placement in North district, priority immigration channels, etc) it will only encourage more and more people to come. Oh, and yes Eddie Ng is an idiot....
mercedes2233
Agree. 'Overseas students' in Australia for example pay far more hefty fees than local students. And quite rightly too, since their parents don't pay Australian taxes.
pjgilby
The placement of children in P1 schooling is in an even bigger mess. The allocation 'system' is dysfunctional. It's the 'free market' approach applied to education. Weird stuff. It will come to a head in the next few years, one way or another.
dng18dng18
I don't understand why mainlanders just don't go to school on the mainland. For one, it's a hell of a lot closer. You always will be 2nd in line to locals when it comes to placement. That's just a fact. Accept it.
Camel
I just have been informed by some friends that it is for them more complicated. Their problem is, that many of them did not apply (or failed to apply) for a Mainland district Hukou for their kids when they were born and without Hukou, the children can not attend to any mainland schools. Only if they pay for the school fees or board private schools. Many thought, that the HKID is enough which is wrong. They now realising that is it not advantageous for them to have HKID for their kids (if not living in HK). Well, they can only blame themselve for this. But you can see, that even the Mainland has regulations how to restrict the inflow into the cities and the burden for public facilities. HK does not.
mercedes2233
So the mainland parents made their decisions and have to live with the consequences. Pay the China school fees then. Why should HK provide education for them when the parents don't pay HK taxes?
maecheung
Hong Kong Government, under Sir Bow Tie, did not want to restrict the inflow of people into the city, so that the developers and landlord could keep raising the flat price and rent up.
chanaa
you pax hk taxes, you contribute to the local community, you get preference. Very simple, works around the world.

Pages

Login

SCMP.com Account

or