Hong Kong parents consider pulling children out of embattled Think International School, even as classes resume
- School group moved 170 pupils to other facility at Boundary Street after academy in Cheung Sha Wan was shut down for operating illegally
- Meanwhile, group’s middle school teachers refuse to renew contracts, leaving about 60 secondary pupils stranded
Parents of pupils at a problem-plagued Hong Kong school are looking to enrol their children elsewhere, even as classes resumed on Thursday after being suspended for three days.
This was out of concern over the quality of education at Think International School, some of them told reporters that morning.
Last Friday, Tsung Tsin Think Academy in Cheung Sha Wan, which is under the same school group, was shut down by the Education Bureau for operating illegally.
The principal announced that classes would be cancelled at the academy, which then told parents on Wednesday that the pupils would be moved to the group’s international primary school in Prince Edward.
The 170 children would be distributed among 11 classrooms at the Boundary Street facility, roughly doubling the class sizes there.
“I am already looking for another school even though my son will not be directly impacted in this situation,” said a mother surnamed Sze To. Her son is a Primary One pupil at Think International School on Boundary Street.
“I am still unsure about the school’s development in the future,” she said.
Some parents were worried about overcrowding in the expanded classes, while others were concerned that putting pupils from Primary Four to Primary Six in mixed-grade classes to accommodate the additional headcount would affect the quality of their education.
A parent who gave her name as Ms Choi noted that that although her son’s class would not be directly affected, there would still be many more children on campus. But she said she had confidence in the school.
“I know that there will be an increase in class sizes. It will inevitably affect teachers and my schoolmates, but that is something that can’t be avoided,” Choi’s son, who is in Primary Six, said.
To explain the shutdown, principal Lily Choy Lai-yu wrote in an email to parents that the Think group had had a rental agreement with Tsung Tsin Middle School in 2015 to teach its programmes at the site on Kwong Lee Road. But the bureau ordered the school to shut down as the name “Tsung Tsin Think Academy” had not been officially registered.
Choy cancelled classes on Monday and Tuesday, and the suspension continued for another day after about 10 overseas secondary teachers at Think refused to renew their employment contracts under Tsung Tsin Middle School’s name.
Tsung Tsin principal Tung Fuk confirmed that this meant the programme offered by Think at his school site would be shut down, affecting about 60 secondary pupils.
However, he added, as of Thursday afternoon, eight of them had expressed interest in enrolling in Tsung Tsin instead. Classes would resume on Monday for these pupils, Tung said.