Up to 27.5 per cent rise in tuition approved for English Schools Foundation institutions in Hong Kong
International school body places blame for largest rises on phased withdrawal of government subsidy
Hong Kong’s largest provider of international education has confirmed that it has secured Education Bureau approval to raise its fees by between 5.4 and 27.5 per cent for 17 of its schools in the next academic year, prompting one parent to say he feels “helpless” in the face of the increases.
Year Two fees in the nine primary schools run by the English Schools Foundation (ESF) will see the biggest rise – up 27.5 per cent to HK$106,500. Institutions affected include Beacon Hill and Sha Tin Junior schools.
Fees for the Jockey Club Sarah Roe School will also rise by the same proportion.
A spokeswoman for the foundation said the sharp rise was caused mainly by the loss of the government subvention, which started being phased out last year, over a period of 13 years.
She said of the HK$23,000 increase, a total of HK$17,300 was caused by the government not subsidising this batch of pupils, while the rest was caused by cost increases.
As there was already a significant increase for Year One last year, the annual fee for this grade will rise by only 5.8 per cent to HK$106,500. This means parents of pupils who joined the ESF system in Year One last year have already been paying a higher fee.
The annual fee for Years Three to Six will go up by 6.8 per cent to HK$89,200, while that for Years Seven to 11 will be raised by 6.2 per cent to HK$122,900. This is similar to last year’s increases.
As for Years 12 to 13, the annual fee will go up by 6.3 per cent to HK$129,100.
Vincent Ho, a father who has a son starting Year 13 at Sha Tin College next month, said the increases in recent years had made him feel “helpless”.
Ho said his son did not speak Cantonese, so he had no choice but to put him in a non-local school.
“In the old days, ESF schools were not a rich boys’ club,” he said.
“There are not many options for us as other international schools are even more expensive while local schools offering the International Baccalaureate programme do not have many places for transfer students.”
Parents of pupils going to the foundation’s kindergarten in Tung Chung, which opened last year, will have to pay HK$78,000, which is 5.4 per cent more than last year.
Those at Renaissance College, a private independent school run by the ESF, will have to spend about 6.2 per cent more across the 13 grades, with fees ranging from HK$111,500 to HK$151,000.
Foundation CEO Belinda Greer said: “ESF reviews its school fees on an annual basis considering a range of factors including market trends, staffing and building maintenance.
“In order for us to ensure ESF’s long-term financial sustainability ... it is necessary for us to increase fees.”
The spokeswoman said the bureau still had to approve proposed fees for other ESF schools.
International schools in Hong Kong are known for their high fees. For example, parents of pupils at the ISF Academy in Pok Fu Lam will have to pay between HK$177,410 and HK$224,070 for the coming academic year.