At least three schools say they will admit mainland children awaiting a decision on their right of abode, in defiance of the Government's education ban. And three Catholic schools - in Wang Tau Hom, Choi Wan and Kwun Tong - say they will follow the instructions of the education office of the Catholic Diocese. A top Catholic cleric last week called on the Church's 300 schools to admit the 170 children if they had room. Another Christian school also offered to help when it had places available. Last week a government source warned any school that admitted the children without approval from the Education and Immigration departments while they awaited the results of their abode applications could be committing a crime. Legislator Szeto Wah said yesterday the three government-subsidised schools where he is chairman of the board would admit the pupils. 'As educationists, we have to make sure the children enjoy the right to education. If the Government prosecutes us, we'll launch a legal battle,' he said, urging other schools to follow suit. The schools are primary schools of the Grantham College of Education Past Students' Association in Whampoa Garden, Kwun Tong and Tseung Kwan O. The Whampoa school's headmaster, Pun Tin-chi, said: 'As teachers and educationists, we need to provide education to children in need.' The Catholic Education Office's episcopal delegate for education, Alice Woo Lo-ming, said the interests of children was their priority. The Catholic schools' move follows a call by the coadjutor bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong, Joseph Zen Ze-kuin, who last week asked the schools to admit the children. Lam Seung-wan, headmaster of the Christian SKH Yat Sau Primary School, said he would consider admitting the children when there were places. An Education Department spokesman said it had reminded all schools in August that the mainland children needed approval from the Immigration Department to study in Hong Kong. Last night the Security Bureau called for a rational and calm discussion, saying the issue was an emotive one. 'By allowing children on recognisance, who are either illegal immigrants or overstayers, to attend schools here, the Government will be creating greater misfortune,' a bureau spokesman said. He said more parents would be tempted to sneak their children into the SAR from the mainland or let the children overstay, and it would be in the best interests of the children if they were sent back to the mainland to apply for right of abode. But Society for Community Organisation director Ho Hei-wah said it was the one-way permit system - which often split up mothers and children by failing to allow them into Hong Kong at the same time - that created the misfortune. Legislator Audrey Eu Yuet-mee questioned the legal grounds of the school ban, while the director of the Human Rights Monitor, Law Yuk-kai, said it breached international law. Bishop Zen also rejected remarks by Secretary for Justice Elsie Leung Oi-sie, who said on Sunday that it would be impractical to provide mainland children on a short stay in Hong Kong with a standard education. The Government was assuming the children would lose their battle. 'Is it more or less trying to interfere with the independence of the judiciary?' he asked.