International schools in Hong Kong

Class sizes at primary school will double to accommodate 170 pupils affected by suspension of Tsung Tsin Think Academy in Hong Kong

  • Number of Primary Four to Primary Six pupils in classes at Think International School will rise from 16 to about 30, parents told
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2018, 10:06pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 November, 2018, 3:53am

Class sizes will double at an international primary school in Prince Edward to accommodate about 170 pupils affected by the suspension of their own school last week.

From Thursday, the number of Primary Four to Primary Six pupils in classes at Think International School on Boundary Street will rise from 16 to about 30, a parent of one of the 170 students told the Post, adding that the plan was announced on Wednesday.

“A teacher informed us the students will be distributed among the 11 classrooms at the Boundary Street facility, where our kids will be put into mixed-grade classes,” said the woman, surnamed Lam, whose nine-year-old daughter is in Primary Five.

“We worry about the quality of the studies now that classes will be expanded, and not to mention that different grades are learning different syllabuses so I don’t know how this will work out.”

She called the school principal “irresponsible”.

The children had studied at Tsung Tsin Think Academy in Cheung Sha Wan which was inspected by Education Bureau officers last Friday.

As the bureau later said the academy was operating illegally, principal Lily Choy Lai-yu announced over the weekend that all classes would be suspended on Monday and Tuesday.

Choy, who also heads the Boundary Street campus, has remained silent on the issue of the primary pupils since Monday.

Principal at suspended school says classes can’t start as promised

The Think group, which runs four facilities, rented the Kwong Lee Road site in Cheung Sha Wan from Tsung Tsin Middle School in September 2015.

But it failed to officially register the name Tsung Tsin Think Academy, leading the bureau to order the school to vacate the premises. More than 200 Primary Four to Secondary Six students were affected.

On Wednesday, Choy called a meeting for the afternoon but failed to show up, according to a parent.

Instead, during the two-hour briefing, a teacher spoke on the academy’s behalf, breaking it to parents that their children would be attending the Prince Edward campus from Thursday morning.

Parents expressed their disappointment at how the academy had handled the matter.

About 40 parents and teachers also met bureau officials on Wednesday morning along with education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen. They said their children were missing out on school through no fault of their own.

“As parents, we are most concerned about our children’s education. We are not asking to be given a place in just any school. What we paid for is a whole package, the school, the programme, the teachers and their classmates,” a parent said after the hour-long meeting at government headquarters.

Ip said he would ask the bureau to allow the students to continue their studies at the Cheung Sha Wan campus.

Meanwhile, the situation for dozens of secondary pupils affected by the suspension would depend on their teachers, the head of Tsung Tsin Middle School revealed.

Principal Tung Fuk told reporters that around 60 secondary students from Think could resume classes if the teachers from the academy renewed their employment contracts under Tsung Tsin’s name and the relevant conditions.

However, Tung said a majority of the about 10 teachers were reluctant to do so because they were worried about the legal consequences if they went back to the campus.

“They did not have any idea that Think was an unregistered school and they fear that Tsung Tsin would con them into teaching at the school illegally,” he said.

“If nothing can be done, we will end the programme managed by Think.”

Tung had earlier insisted classes at Cheung Sha Wan had been a collaboration programme with Think and not a school operated by the group.