• Fri
  • Sep 19, 2014
  • Updated: 3:37pm
NewsHong Kong

Squeeze on international-school locals

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 April, 2014, 3:38am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 April, 2014, 3:38am

International schools that reserve at least 80 per cent of places for non-local children may be given priority in the government's land grant scheme, an education official says.

Wendy Chung, principal assistant secretary for education, said yesterday on the Education Bureau's website that the government would not be following suggestions to increase that proportion to at least 90 per cent.

International schools currently operating are required to have at least 70 per cent non-local pupils - although the average proportion is 85 per cent, according to Chung.

Last month, the Education Bureau earmarked two vacant schools in Ap Lei Chau and Tai Po and three undeveloped sites in Tseung Kwan O and Tai Po for international primary school development.

Successful applicants usually enjoy a nominal rent or land premium and interest-free capital loans.

The move is set to relieve an expected shortage of 4,200 primary international school places by 2016 - a shortfall partly caused by an increasing number of local parents choosing international schools for their children.

The two vacant schools are expected to provide 1,200 primary international school places by 2016. Together with other schools in the pipeline, it should help limit the shortage of primary places to 1,500 that year.

Chung said it was important to leave places for some local children in international schools, and it would be "arbitrary" to ban children of returning emigrants or overseas families with permanent Hong Kong residency.

"In addition, we need to … uphold freedom of choice for local families who wish to have their children learning in an environment outside the public sector school system at their own cost," she said.

But Civic Party lawmaker Kenneth Chan Ka-lok said affordability was a big problem and if the additional supply meant more "elitist places", it would not help expatriate or returning emigrant families who belong to the middle or lower-middle class.

He said that in return for granting these schools cheap land, the government should have a say in determining the level of fees they charged.

Chung countered that the schools were self-financed and market-driven.



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This article is now closed to comments

International schools are lucrative business and to those who can afford money is no object. If the name brand luxury store is a magnet to the mainlanders then HK has finally found a niche for the locals and expatriates with deep pockets. Everyone wants a piece of the action. Where the money lies, you will eventually see no shortage even for politicians.
What if every school in Hong Kong gave every child an outstanding education including second language support when needed? Nah! Who'd want that?
ban all Government servants who are not foreign passport holders from sending their children to local International schools even if they can pay the full unsubsidised fee amount
If the local school system is so great (where did Ng Hak Kim's children study, g'day mate ?) then it should be used by Govt servants' children
Granting 'cheap' land to teachers instead of businesspeople caused the demise of the ESF when it unwisely entered the local property business at Renaissance + Disco Bay colleges - the then carrot was offered by F anny Law + readily accepted by wastrel Wisker - ahh yes F anny Law's kids went to West Island school since the then Education + Manpower chief deemed it better than the local system for her kids
Fxxing Hypocrites
Give Chan Ka Lok his due, he is one of the few Legco members who actually gives a shxt about the people


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