Date
17 December 2017
Kindergartens are limited to HK$40 registration fee but some are charging up to 90 times the government  cap. Photo: HKEJ
Kindergartens are limited to HK$40 registration fee but some are charging up to 90 times the government cap. Photo: HKEJ

Kindergartens charging fees 90 times above govt cap

Some international schools in Hong Kong are charging kindergarten registration fees up to 90 times higher than the official ceiling, Hong Kong Economic Times reported Friday.

Thirty-six kindergartens, mostly run by international schools, were recently found to have charged above the HK$40 maximum allowed by the government. 

Among these was the German Swiss International School, which levied the highest registration fee at HK$3,700 (US$477) this school year, the report said.

Singapore International School charged HK$3,000.

The schools included those that have yet to implement a voucher system but have decided to charge registration fees above the official cap.

In April, the Education Bureau raised the cap to HK$40 from HK$30 and required schools to seek its approval for charges beyond that.

On average, school fees for kindergartens went up 8.2 percent this year, a new high in year-on-year increases, mainly driven by higher rent for school premises.

The government boosted subsidies through the school voucher scheme but tuition fees went up nonetheless after schools were allowed to increase fees.

More and more parents have since demanded the government offer free kindergarten education.

Some parents have complained that even with the subsidies from the school vouchers program, kindergartens still levy a long list of miscellaneous charges.

Hong Kong has 724 kindergartens, about 75 percent of which accept school vouchers. About 30 percent do not charge school fees.

However, some parents complain that miscellaneous fees could go up to several thousand dollars a year.

They say the only solution is free kindergarten education but any such proposal is unlikely to be considered by the government until the 2015 academic year.

High rent for school premises will remain the biggest hurdle for any such proposal, the report said.

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