Legislators have attacked plans to raise the minimum number of pupil admissions in Primary One intakes, which could result in the closure of at least 77 schools. Under a proposal released by the Education and Manpower Bureau last month, schools must have at least 23 students enrolled in Primary One. The current minimum pupil intake is 16. The bureau justified the proposal by citing a projected 17 per cent drop by 2010 in the number of children aged between six and 11 - from 493,200 to 410,600. Officials drew attention to a primary school, believed to be King Lam School on Tap Mun island, which has just one pupil costing $353,225 a year - 14 times the city-wide average cost of $24,258 for educating a child. At least 77 primary schools - most in rural areas - are expected to be phased out by 2007 under the proposal, achieving annual savings of $372.5 million. Yesterday, members of Legco's education panel condemned the proposal. They were supported by representatives of 10 education bodies. Legislator Cheung Man-kwong said the government failed to look beyond numbers to the historical and social significance of many rural schools. 'The fact that the government wants to raise the admission quota for primary schools when the birthrate is dropping demonstrates their intention to kill rural and small schools,' he said. Legislators sought further talks on the issue with Secretary for Education Arthur Li Kwok-cheung. Cheng Yan-chee, deputy secretary of the bureau, said the office was still consulting parties on the proposal. But parents claimed that many of those who had sought to enrol their children at low-enrolment schools were 'threatened' by the bureau staff to change schools. Jade Kong Chun-yok, of the Alliance of Parents of Rural Schools, said that she had received more than 20 complaints from villagers in the New Territories.