Hong Kong parents slam Rosaryhill Secondary School over decision to close, demand pupils should be allowed to finish studies
- Parent-Teacher Association chairman Baljinder Singh says move has disrupted staff morale, students’ routine and lives of families
- Drastic reduction in enrolment numbers and money woes prompted shutdown, according to supervisor He Yousun
Parent representatives have slammed a secondary school in Hong Kong over its decision to close, demanding an option to allow pupils to finish their studies, while management at the institution has pledged to form a committee to help students with the transition.
Baljinder Singh, chairman of the Parent-Teacher Association at Rosaryhill Secondary School, issued a strongly worded letter on Sunday addressed to its current sponsoring body and the Education Bureau after the institution on Friday announced it would shut down.
The new sponsoring body, Dalton School Hong Kong, said it would assume stewardship of the privately funded Rosaryhill Kindergarten and Rosaryhill School next September.
Rosaryhill Secondary School will shift from an aided school to a privately funded one. It will cease operations as a subsidised school in the 2025-26 academic year. Dalton will then extend its international stream to the campus.
The decision has sparked anger among parents and students, who have been forced to look for alternatives.
He Yousun, a supervisor at the secondary school, on Sunday said a drastic reduction in enrolment numbers and financial issues had prompted the decision by current sponsoring body Dominican Mission to shut down the campus in the 2025-26 academic year. It promised to form a committee to help students and staff with the transition.
But Singh said the move had disrupted staff morale, students’ routine and the lives of their families.
“We would never be able to understand the real reasons behind such a huge and serious decision. We all have to face this outrageous news with a very heavy heart,” he wrote in the letter.
He dismissed remarks from the school sponsoring body which said the decision was in the best interest of its students and schools. “It’s totally untrue,” he said.
The association chairman said a declining number of pupils at the secondary school, the main reason cited by the sponsoring body for the closure, was not an issue. He added that more students had shown an interest in enrolling in Form One classes.
He accused the sponsoring body of lacking compassion, saying the move had left a huge psychological impact on younger pupils as they had to now move to another school.
“[The school sponsoring body] certainly didn’t understand or might have underestimated their feelings, showed no compassion for them and totally disregarded the gravity of this decision and the immediate and long-term impact that it will have on our students, parents and teachers,” he said.
The association urged the body to allow all staff and Form One to Form Six pupils to remain at the secondary school until the last batch of students graduated in the 2028-29 academic year.
Supervisor He on Friday also sent his first letter to parents, teachers and staff to explain why Dominican Mission had decided to shut down the school.
The letter followed comments by the school principal on Saturday arguing that claims of declining enrolment and financial difficulties by the sponsoring body were untrue.
“The secondary school’s student population has dwindled significantly, declining from its peak of more than 2,000 students to about 400 students,” the school supervisor on Sunday said in a second letter after the decision to close came to light.
He added that enrolment had continued to fall by 6 per cent since 2019, with the current figure representing less than 20 per cent of its prime years.
He said management had predicted that fewer students would apply for a spot at the aided secondary school as enrolment numbers at the kindergarten and primary school had plummeted by a staggering 65 per cent.
The secondary school also struggled to maintain educational programmes and services under a constrained budget as government support hinged on student numbers, he added.
“We understand that feelings of anger and frustration may lead to actions taken against the interest of the school and its stakeholders,” he wrote in the statement.
He said the school sponsoring body was planning to invite members of the Parent-Teacher Association to form a “Secondary School Transition Committee” to facilitate the transition for students and staff.
But So Pui Ting, principal of the secondary school, said in a letter on Sunday that it could maintain three Secondary One classes in the 2023-24 academic year, adding the school did not have financial difficulties as it was an aided institution that relied on government subsidies.
She said the body was “misleading” parents by claiming the school had an enrolment problem.
Ting also said it was inappropriate of the sponsoring body to inform parents of the decision to close at such short notice and arrange a session with them less than 24 hours after the announcement as many could not join.
The principal’s letter was eventually taken down from the school website.