The first day of the new school year in Hong Kong, Sept. 1, began on a bad note for many cross-border primary students as they couldn’t make it to classes on time due to traffic snarls, Ming Pao Daily News reported Tuesday.
Many students from mainland were late for school on Monday for up to an hour as school buses to campuses in districts such as Wong Tai Sin, Tuen Mun and Tung Chung were caught in sluggish traffic, the report said.
In order to save travel time, parents of some students had acquired special permits to drive their children from the mainland to Hong Kong every morning. Others had splashed up to HK$3 million (US$ 387,080) to purchase a flat in Tuen Mun, the paper said.
Schools which had taken in cross-border students said they hope that what happened on the first day of the new school year will not persist for long.
Principal Chu Tsz-wing of Baptist Rainbow Primary School, which has admitted 31 cross-border primary one students this year, said two school buses arrived at its Wong Tai Sin campus at about 9am on Monday, 40 minutes later than the scheduled arrival time. But Chu remained hopeful that traffic conditions would return to normal in the coming days.
Lok Sin Tong Leung Wong Wai Fong Memorial School in Tuen Mun was assigned some 80 cross-border students this year, but in the end only 30-plus enrolled, as the other students opted to go to other schools closer to the border, according to Principal Ng Ka-chun.
Some students who failed to secure a place at a school near the border have reluctantly returned to study in the mainland, as parents realized that three hours of travel time each day is too grueling for their children.
Ng revealed that some parents have asked their relatives in Hong Kong to let the children stay with them from Monday to Friday, so that the children can avoid the hassle of daily travel from the mainland.
In other comments, Ng said parents were issued memos since last year that they shouldn’t try to give gifts to the teachers. In the past, there had been instances when some mainland parents had sought to give expensive gift items like ginseng to the teachers, he noted.
Some parents of cross-border students were also found to be over-protective of their children, Ng said, adding that they had to be offered some advice.
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