22 March 2019
As the intake for Secondary 1 has fallen, teachers are taking steps to promote their schools to parents (inset). Photos: HKEJ, Ming Pao
As the intake for Secondary 1 has fallen, teachers are taking steps to promote their schools to parents (inset). Photos: HKEJ, Ming Pao

Secondary schools offer freebies to lure pupils

Some secondary schools are offering free school uniforms, complimentary meals or electronic dictionaries to lure prospective pupils to enrol with them for the 2015/16 school year, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday

This year, 41 Secondary 1 classes are expected to be cut because of a drop in the number of pupils graduating from primary school.

Teachers from seven or eight schools were seen Tuesday in the lobby of the office building where the school places allocation section of the Education Bureau (EDB) is located.

They approached parents coming to enquire about Secondary 1 places for children who did not take part in the Territory-wide System Assessment for allocating school places, some of whom are new immigrants from the mainland.

Some of these teachers not only provided information on their schools but even offered to give the parents a ride to visit the schools or take them by taxi.

The report cited unnamed EDB sources as saying that last year up to 47 classes were expected to be cut when the results of the school places allocation were first published.

However, when school opened in September, the number of classes axed fell to 18, as some pupils switched schools and new immigrants signed up during the summer holiday for vacant places.

Those sources are therefore optimistic that by September the number of classes to be cut will fall.

Commenting on the schools’ efforts to boost their admissions, Lee Suet-ying, who chairs the Hong Kong Association of the Heads of Secondary Schools, said the schools had no alternative but to promote themselves, as they do not want to poach pupils from other schools.

Lee said as there are fewer Secondary 1 pupils this year, even those with mediocre academic results have been assigned to schools in higher bands, leading to schools in lower bands facing even higher pressure to recruit pupils.

Meanwhile, Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim predicted the population of Secondary 1 pupils will gradually rebound starting next year and their number could increase to 69,000 in a few years’ time, higher than the estimate of 65,000 made a few years ago.

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