The Education Bureau (EB) said 82 percent of Hong Kong’s kindergartens raised school fees this year, by an average of 8.3 percent.
That is the most in 14 years and almost twice the city’s inflation rate of 4.4 percent in 2014, Apple Daily reported Tuesday.
The EB has approved applications to raise school fees from 972 kindergartens, while 117 others, or 12 percent of the total, have opted to freeze their fees.
Eight kindergartens, or less than 1 percent, have lowered their fees.
The applications of 32 others are still being processed.
The EB said salary adjustments, the teacher-to-pupil ratio, accumulated losses and the improvement of school facilities are the major factors considered in approving applications.
The yearly subsidy for each kindergarten pupil has been raised from HK$20,010 to HK$22,510 for the current academic year under the Pre-primary Education Voucher Scheme (PEVS) — a 12.5 percent increase from last year.
However, increases in kindergartens fees this year are more than the increase in the amount of the PEVS subsidy, meaning that parents have to cough up more money than last year for their children’s pre-primary education.
Shau Kei Wan Methodist Kindergarten, for example, is charging parents HK$25,245 for morning sessions and for afternoon sessions this year, up from HK$18,700 and HK$17,380 last year, representing a 35 percent and 45 percent increase, respectively.
The school has raised its whole-day fees to HK$39,336 from HK$28,050 last year, a 40 percent increase.
Parents still need to pay HK$2,735 for each of the morning and afternoon sessions after the PEVS subsidy is taken into account.
For the whole-day session, they need to pay a net HK$16,826 after the PEVS subsidy.
Principal Fok Siu-fung said the kindergarten had frozen its fees since the 2009-2010 school year.
However, operating costs have soared in recent years, resulting in a deficit of over HK$1 million.
Fok expects a deficit in the coming one or two years, even with the increase in fees.
Among private schools, the kindergarten section of Yew Chung International School in Kowloon Tong is charging HK$166,540 this year for its whole-day session.
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