A controversial proposal to develop an international school on an empty Tseung Kwan O site has been approved by the Sai Kung district council, after a number of concessions were made to An internationalexisting local schools.
Located on Tong Yin Street, south of the Park Central estate and mall, the 15,800 square metre plot is expected to provide about 870 primary school places and 500 secondary places.
The project will go some way to providing the extra 4,200 international primary school places it is estimated the city will need by 2016, but it had encountered strong opposition from existing schools in the area.
They feared that an international school - where 30 per cent of pupils can be local children - would exacerbate problems filling local classrooms.
The bureau made concessions to ease the passage of the project. International schools bidding for the site that propose to admit no less than 80 per cent non-local children will be given priority consideration.
The bureau also agreed to reserve a section of the site for local schools to apply for relocation. It would look at a site on Wan Po Road opposite Lohas Park for a second new international school to make up for the lost places.
"The Education Bureau has shown its sincerity and adjusted its plan," said Wong Wai-tak, chairman of Sai Kung District Principals' Association, which had opposed the project. "Our principals have reached a consensus and supported the plan. A diverse school system is also good for parents."
An international school would definitely affect local schools' admissions, and principals would object if it set its non-local pupil ratio lower than 80 per cent, he said. A ratio of 90 per cent or higher would be "ideal".
With more than 10 housing estates to be finished in the area in the next few years, Tseung Kwan O-based district councillor Chapman Chan Kai-wai said there would be an increase in the number of middle-class families and greater demand for a diverse education system.
Officials hope to start the land grant and school relocation application process this year.