Parents blame influx of mainlanders for lack of discretionary primary places
Johnny Tam and Shirley Zhao
Disgruntled local parents whose children missed out on securing a discretionary primary school place on Monday claimed the influx of children born to mainland parents had lowered their chances.
Early in the morning on Monday, dozens of worried parents went to La Salle Primary School in Kowloon City to check if their child had been offered a place by the elite school at the discretionary stage.
Flora Lee Man-ping, mother of her only son, said her son had not been successful in securing a place at the elite all-boys school.
“There aren’t many children in this district. I don’t know why it’s so hard to get my son into this school - maybe children who were born to mainlanders have also started to apply for elite schools,” she said.
She said her son was studying at an international pre-school but there were also many mainland children in her son’s class.
“I have to get him to another international kindergarten after letting him study there for a month as more than half of his some ten classmates were Mandarin-speaking. I put him in an international school to train his English not his Mandarin.”
The elite school admitted 90 pupils, 46 of which were offered a place because they had an older brother studying or had parents working at the school.
In North district, Sheung Shui Wai Chow Public School admitted 79 out of 300 applicants. About 50 children were guaranteed a place at the school because they had brothers or sisters studying at the school. Principal Chan Siu-hung said there were only 30 of such children last year.
Chan said this year there were more people applying for children as guardians instead of parents. Those children’s parents may live on the mainland and ask their relatives who live in the city to apply for their children.
Kong Shan, whose daughter failed to get into the school during the first round of admission, said he was very disappointed. He said the competition had heated up this year due to more and more mainlanders applying for places for their children, who were born in Hong Kong.
“It’s not like you have any choice,” said Kong. “The bigger the number of people is, the more intense the competition.”
This year, 52,489 children applied for discretionary places at government and subsidised primary schools. However, only 22,187 were offered a place. Of the successful applicants, 10,722 were children who had siblings studying at the schools they had applied to, or parents working at those schools.
Registration of successful children should be made on Wednesday or Thursday during school hours.
Under the primary one admission system, each government or subsidised primary school may make designate about 50 per cent of its total primary one places as discretionary places. The remaining 50 per cent will be reserved for central allocation in January next year.