21 March 2019
Students from Shenzhen line up for a school bus after attending classes in Hong Kong. Photo: Reuters
Students from Shenzhen line up for a school bus after attending classes in Hong Kong. Photo: Reuters

Mainland parents warn against HK kindergarten rush

Mainland parents who are sending their children to kindergartens in Hong Kong are warning their fellow citizens about the high costs involved and advising them to avoid cross-border education unless they have plenty of money, Skypost reported Friday.

A mainland mother who lives in Shenzhen and has a Hong Kong-born son admitted in a school in the special administrative region was quoted as saying that she wouldn’t recommend others to follow her if they do not have a lot of resources. 

While she complimented Hong Kong’s education system and the convenience it offers for students to pursue further studies abroad, the high costs should make one think twice, she said.

The woman said that she had saved a lot to enable her son to study in Hong Kong, and that she would also consider buying a home in Shatin when her son goes to primary school, so as to avoid long travel time for the child and also provide a better living environment for him.

But it is not easy for people with meager resources, she said. Meanwhile, securing admission in Hong Kong kindergartens is also not easy, the woman said, noting that competition for school places has become more intense.

The comments came as school places in kindergartens in Hong Kong’s North District have been in much demand in recent years due to an influx of Hong Kong-born children whose parents are non-permanent residents. 

A Sheung Shui Wai Chow Kindergarten said it received 1,500 applications this year for the 150 places available. Truth Baptist Church Ho Yuen Wai King Kindergarten in Yuen Long said it received over 1,000 applications for its 120 places this year. Around 20 percent of the students admitted are cross-border children, the school said.

To prevent a student from holding more than one school place at the same time, the Education Bureau, starting this year, has required parents to hand in their children’s education vouchers, a fee subsidy scheme for pre-primary education, to kindergartens once the child gains admission in a school. This rule applies to the kindergartens that are under the education vouchers scheme.

Under the vouchers scheme, a student can receive up to HK$20,010 in school fee subsidies for the 2014-2015 school year.

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