A father who has banned his 10-year-old daughter from school for two years has given a cold reception to an Education Department proposal to send teachers to tutor his child at home. Director of Education Matthew Cheung Kin-chung told the Sunday Morning Post that officials would try to persuade Leung Chi-kwong to accept private tutoring for his daughter, Dearing, at their public rental flat in Tai Po. In its letter to Mr Leung last Wednesday, the department's student-guidance section suggested sending a teacher who would provide lessons in English, Chinese and mathematics for Dearing at their Tai Po flat. In February 2000, Mr Leung pulled Dearing out of Sham Shui Association School in Tai Po on the grounds that she would not be challenged by the school's teaching methods. He criticised the local education system as a 'complete failure' and insisted on providing 'home-schooling' for his daughter. Home-schooling is banned under the Education Ordinance and parents risk jail for failing to send children between the ages of six and 15 to school. Mr Cheung said it was unwise to make a rash decision to issue Mr Leung an attendance order requiring him to send his child back to school within two weeks. 'We consider it a marginal case because Dearing's father did offer her some form of education at home, including taking her to swimming and a language course,' the official said. The department has been urging Mr Leung to send Dearing back to school and has reserved places in several primary schools in Tai Po for her. Henry Yip Kim-hung, an inspector for the department's student-guidance section, said the department had put forward the proposal of private tutoring in the hope of providing Dearing with a more balanced education. 'It's difficult to say whether the proposal is a compromise or a concession. We see it as a beginning in helping Dearing,' he said. But he said the proposal was not an ideal substitute for letting Dearing back into school, which would improve her interpersonal skills. The department also has asked for a progress report on Dearing's home-schooling. Mr Leung, 59, responded critically to the offer, giving no indication that he was willing to accept the department's home-teaching proposal. 'I have told the department officials repeatedly that they are simply wasting time. I hope they stop harassing us,' said Mr Leung, who is unemployed and has received no formal education. Mr Yip said department officials had made several attempts to visit the family in the past few months. Legislator representing the education constituency, Cheung Man-kwong, said the department's proposal was a good compromise considering Mr Leung's reluctance to send his daughter back to school. 'It's no good forcing Mr Leung to send Dearing back to school until every method has been tried. Coercive means will only make the family unhappy,' he said.