• Thu
  • Oct 2, 2014
  • Updated: 12:24am
NewsHong Kong
EDUCATION

English Schools Foundation parents call on Hong Kong chief executive to probe fee rises

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 March, 2014, 2:33pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 March, 2014, 9:04am
 

Poll

  • Yes: 89%
  • No: 11%
29 Mar 2014
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 616

English Schools Foundation parents urged Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to look personally into an average 5 per cent fee rise announced yesterday.

The increase is the first important decision by the foundation since Belinda Greer took over as chief executive from Heather Du Quesnay in September. Greer said the increase was to cope with inflation, a 3.5 per cent pay rise for teachers and building costs.

But parent Hans Ladegaard said annual fee rises by the ESF - the largest provider of English-medium education in Hong Kong - had frozen out lower middle-class families.

"There're only elite schools left in Hong Kong and nowhere for lower middle-class kids to go."

Angie Lam, a member of an ESF parents' concern group, said the rise was unacceptable and the foundation should try to cut costs instead of "squeezing parents to pay more every year".

Lam, who has two children at ESF schools, accused Leung of failing to keep a promise that he would monitor the foundation closely and urged him to take a personal look at the increase.

The fee for primary classes in the coming school year will be HK$74,100, up about 5.9 per cent. For secondary years 7 to 11 it will be HK$105,700, up 4.2 per cent. The year 12 to 13 charge of HK$111,100 is a 4.5 per cent rise.

The Education Bureau said last year its annual subsidy of HK$283 million to the ESF would be phased out over 13 years from 2016.

Greer said the real challenge was how to prepare for the loss of the subsidy so fees remained lower than most international schools while improving standards. "We don't want to price people out," she said. "We want to continue to serve our families that we've been serving in the last 50 years."

The ESF also announced an increase of about 6.6 per cent for 2014-15 tuition fees at Discovery College on Lantau.

Watch: New chief vows English Schools Foundation will stay affordable

 

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22

This article is now closed to comments

cheeky
I dont like the increase but i dont want to send my kid to a local school , so i will pay. Also, i dont think the teachers are terribly well paid and the hike is not unjustified. I just cant see how the chinese language, and culture will be the dominant business language in the next 50 years even though i hope that will happen. I work in an environment where i have seen how the prowess of english can give the average people an easy life. Just knowing english is not enough. The local guy who doesnt hold the door could speak english too. The hiring managers are not chinese in most instances and they just dont want to hire people who are not like them or who cant communicate with his or her boss and colleagues, even though they will try hiring locally in the first place. most hk chinese parents know this and it is one reason we covet an english learningvenvironment.
dynamco
www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1343913/new-esf-chief-belinda-greer-vows-watch-pennies
‘And Greer is keen to avoid further big fee increases so the ESF remains a cost-effective alternative to international schools’
31 October 2013
Amen
swami.vas
The poll question is whether or not one agrees if there are adequate English schools left for Hong Kong's lower and middle-class kids to attend. My emphatic answer is NO! Basically, there is a misconception. Education is not all about language especially English language. There are many top class so-called local Chinese schools both in private and public sectors which produce highly talented young women and men and in these schools the medium of instructions is not exclusively English language. In fact, many of these schools do meet the educational needs of non-Chinese children. In many other countries around the world English language is either not taught at all or at the most taught as a second language. Thus, the mindset of parents in Hong Kong that only the English schools in Hong Kong provide a better education is misplaced and should change! As long as there are places available in non-English schools their kids can flourish getting equally good if not better education than in the so-called English schools which are mistakenly believed to be elite schools! Also, efforts by the government are already ongoing to make it possible for non-Chinese children to get education attending more and more local schools and as years go by there could be a dwindling demand for places in English schools as Hong Kong gets gradually integrated with the mainland!
johnwe
75K, 105K and 110K is bludgeoning the 'middle class'? Don't make me laugh. Your 75K pa would not even pay for half a year in a good independent school in UK.
If your kid is not good enough for a local Anglo-Chinese school, and you want an easy life with no homework etc, then you pay for it. QED
Also , those teachers are still being paid expatriate wages with colonial style fringe benefits. What kind of fees can you expect if your ESF continues like an outdated monolith unable to change or reform because everyone who is part of the decision-making cannot see themselves making a sacrifice.
Bon Chance mon amie.
keresearch
and all their UK state sector mates come out to teach for a soft few years. I found the standards very ordinary and spent 70,000 quid a year for two kids at a serious UK school
keithkklau@gmail.com
The call for more subsidy does not make sense to me. A 5% increment is reasonable given the inflation in Hong Kong and ESF's hugh popularity among parents simply shows demand far exceeding the supply. For those who sent the children to ESF, please don't complain and if you cannot afford, simply let others to enter the school. I don't think HK parents are complaining the ever increasing tuition fee in US or UK. What CY Leung really need to do with HK education is to bring local schools into ESF level, at least in primary school which is so important to establish a solid foundation for students for further study. Clearly the hugh annual education budget in HK is simply to keep "redundant" teachers and a group of useless education bureaucrats in a well paid jobs. A responsible government should get rid of those unproductive manpower and reallocate resources to support high quality teaching at well run school. A voucher scheme should be introduced to give the students the choice.
wiseman
What a joke. ESF level? What kind of level is it? The reason why ESF is so popular in Hong Kong is only because of its medium of teaching and the fact that a local kid will have more opportunities of meeting expatriate children. There is nothing special about its "level".
allan94
blah blah blah. new ceo, same nonsense. people whose kids are in already complain every year. people whose kids cant get in, dont want the govt to subsidize it.
for starters, why does the esf keep hiring expats to be ceo. if u want to save costs, try hiring a local. at least u dont need to pay for her rent and her 2 first class tickets home to uk for her and her spouse and kids..
Hiring a local guy probably will help esf deal better with the local education bureau. belinda and heather cant deal with the local govt bec they dont really travel in the same circles.
also, having a white expat ceo exacerbates the colonial image.
Basically, the quality of teaching in esf is far superior than ANY local govt school. hence the long waiting list. Everyone wants their kids to study there. Why? bec when they see the grads from the local system, they worry, bec the local grads cant string a simple sentence in english or putonghua. Just try to order in english at your nearest KFC or mcdonalds to a local 18-20 year old behind the counter. you will get a blank stare. It will take the hk govt at least one generation to fix the local system.
everyone complains, but belinda , let me give u some suggestions.
1. tell the govt to scrap the subsidy.
2. double the fees.
3. those who cant afford it will drop out.
4. no more complaints
5. make it a truly private school
then everyone can move on.
this is HK, money talks, **** walks.
pragmatist
Time to fix education system, Chief Executive. Stop harming the children in HK - fees are too high, and admissions so difficult because there are so few schools that are worth being called schools. Did you know you can't even apply online (note: internet is here in 2014 !)
This is creating prosperity for schools without regard to children welfare. Chief Executive - please start taking actions!
14u2nv
Anyone know what's the total number of pupils/students that ESF has? i.e. once the annual subsidy of HK$283 million, as a back of the envelope calculation, is it fair to assume that this cost would be equally divided by the total number of pupils to calculate the new annual ESF fees? (yes I know this doesn't take into account inflation/cost cutting etc.. etc..)... just trying to get a sense of how much this subsidy is worth on a per pupil basis.

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