Kowloon Tong private school to close, becoming first in Hong Kong to cite emigration wave for demise

  • Tak Nga Primary School will gradually wind up classes and conclude all services by 2028
  • Sponsoring body says in letter school has failed to admit enough students since 2018 because of falling birth rate and emigration wave

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Tak Nga Primary School in Kowloon Tong. Photo: Google Map

A 63-year-old private primary school in Kowloon Tong has begun ceasing operations, becoming the first campus in Hong Kong to attribute its demise to a recent emigration wave and falling birth rate.

In two separate notices issued to parents and alumni on Tuesday, the Sisters Announcers of the Lord, the sponsoring body of Tak Nga Primary School, said it had decided to wind up gradually by halting Primary One classes in the next academic year and officially closing down in 2028.

“Since 2018, the school has failed to admit sufficient pupils because of the falling birth rate in Hong Kong, and the problem is further aggravated by the emigration wave in recent years,” the letter stated.

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“The school’s sponsoring body has decided to close Tak Nga Primary School in a gradual and orderly manner after prudently considering various factors. But we promise the current pupils can continue to enjoy the best learning resources and complete their primary studies without being affected.

“We have no choice, and are reluctant, to finally bid farewell to fellow residents after more than 60 years.”

The Sisters Announcers of the Lord pledged to press on up till closure and offer timely help to parents inclined to switch schools for their children.

The school cited Hong Kong’s emigration wave as a reason for its closure. Photo: Jonathan Wong

Established in 1960 and located in Yau Yat Chuen, Kowloon Tong, Tak Nga Primary School is a private campus charging an annual tuition fee of HK$42,000, higher than most direct subsidy schools partly funded by the government.

Out of 511 primary schools in Hong Kong, 34 are privately run and house about 30,000 students. Private schools rely solely on tuition fees for income.

In the current academic year, the Kowloon Tong school in question offered 14 classes, with only two Primary One sessions.

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Hong Kong’s school sector has experienced a significant loss in student population in recent years, amid an emigration wave as Western countries such as Britain, Canada and Australia offered pathways to citizenship in response to Beijing imposing a national security law on the city in 2020.

In the 2021-22 school year, about 5,000 pupils left kindergartens, while around 10,000 and 15,000 students quit primary and secondary schools respectively.

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An Education Bureau spokeswoman said it had received the notification from Tak Nga Primary School on its plan to cease operations gradually.

She said the bureau had reminded the private school to maintain communications with parents to avoid affecting the education of pupils.

“Parents who are interested in seeking places in public schools can contact the bureau’s regional education offices,” the spokeswoman added.

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