As many as 42 Hong Kong secondary schools will have to cut the number of their classes this coming school year because of a drop in enrollment, Apple Daily reported on Wednesday, citing data from the Education Bureau.
A total of 48,811 primary school students will advance to secondary one in September via the Secondary School Places Allocation (SSPA) system. As there are fewer primary six students this year, there will be a surplus of 4,500 school places.
The drop in the number of primary six students has led to a higher satisfaction rate of 91 percent among students who have been assigned a school within their first three choices through the central allocation system. Many parents and students were glad after learning the results on Tuesday.
However, a paper submitted by the Education Bureau to the Legislative Council paints another picture. Of the 382 secondary schools participating in the SSPA system this year, 10 would need to immediately cut a secondary one class, while nine others have to do the same if they fail to recruit 26 students before September. Also, 23 other schools would have to cut secondary one classes if they cannot admit at least 51 new students during the summer holiday.
The Education Bureau said it will re-assess the situation in September and decide on the actual number of classes that will be cut. Of the 42 schools that will be affected, some may need to cut as many as two secondary one classes in the coming year.
Teachers from at least three schools were seen gathering outside the EDB Lui Kee Education Services Center in Wan Chai, which offers assistance to new immigrant students in finding secondary one school places. The teachers are believed to be lobbying for the students to enrol in their schools.
James Lam, chairman of the Hong Kong Subsidized Secondary School Council, said as the surplus of secondary one places will increase from this year’s 4,500 to 5,000 next year, schools would face greater competition in filling up their classes.
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