International schools in Hong Kong

Classes remain suspended for almost 40 primary pupils at Tsung Tsin Think Academy after suspected illegal operation at international school in Hong Kong

  • Education Bureau suggested illegal operation at site after name change
  • Principal promises relocation for affected pupils but no start date given
PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 November, 2018, 4:15pm
UPDATED : Monday, 12 November, 2018, 10:20pm

Some secondary students may return to classes at an international school in Hong Kong that was abruptly closed over the weekend, but uncertainty remains for several dozen primary pupils.

The Education Bureau said on Monday evening that some classes at Think International Schools Group’s facility in Cheung Sha Wan would be allowed to resume on Wednesday.

But a few dozen students attending Primary Four to Six would have to be relocated and it was unclear when they could return to class.

The group, which has four facilities across the city, rented the Kwong Lee Road site from Tsung Tsin Middle School in Cheung Sha Wan in September 2015. But it failed to officially register the name of Tsung Tsin Think Academy – the name it currently operates under – leading to the bureau on Friday ordering the school to vacate the premises.

Principal Lily Choy Lai-yu announced on Saturday all classes at the school would be cancelled on Monday and Tuesday.

She promised affected pupils a relocation plan to other campuses, but did not explain when the new arrangement would begin.

 “This is just awful,” said a woman surnamed Lam, whose nine-year-old daughter was a Primary Five pupil. “I don’t know how to explain to my little girl why the school is closed and when she will be going back to see her teachers and classmates.”

What’s most important now is to settle the affected students and not disrupt their studies in the middle of the semester
Lam, mother of Primary Five pupil

Lam, a university teacher who declined to give her full name, expressed shock over the sudden suspension, and urged the school to come up with an arrangement for the affected pupils as soon as possible.

“What’s most important now is to settle the affected students and not disrupt their studies in the middle of the semester,” she added.

More than 200 students were affected by the order, including secondary school pupils and several classes of children from Primary Four to Primary Six.

On Monday, the head of Tsung Tsin Middle School, Tung Fuk, said the school had reached an agreement after a meeting with Choy.

Secondary pupils would be allowed to continue classes at the campus under Tsung Tsin’s name, while those from Think’s primary section would have to move out before Wednesday, Tung said.

It was believed around 30 to 40 Primary Four to Primary Six students were affected.

“There will be no more name changing. The students, badges on the uniforms, exercise books, website and such will operate under the name Tsung Tsin Middle School, always has and always will,” he said, insisting the classes had been a collaboration programme with Think and not a school operated by Think.

A spokesman from the Education Bureau said they would offer help to the school and affected students during the holiday process.

In an email on Saturday, Choy told parents education officials inspected the campus on Friday and questioned why the school was operating under an unregistered name.

Choy said Primary Four to Primary Six pupils would relocate to the Boundary Street campus, while reception and Year One classes would relocate to the IB Lincoln Road campus.

Parents have been advised to attend a meeting with the principal at the Kwong Lee campus on Tuesday afternoon.

Choy explained that after working with the Education Bureau for 2½ years, the application to change the school name was still pending.

She added that under the leasing contract, the group would refurbish the rundown campus at Block A of Tsung Tsin on condition the venue’s name be changed to Tsung Tsin Think Academy.

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“Since block B is a primary school site we might be able to operate a primary school there.

“But this year, Tsung Tsin Middle School changed its mind, having found another partner in Oxford International College, who did not ask for the name change. Naturally, it prefers not to change the school name.”

The Post has reached out to the Tsung Tsin Think Academy for comment.