Date
24 March 2017
Cross-border schoolchildren make the trip between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Competition for primary one places is expected to tighten in the next three years. Photo: HKEJ
Cross-border schoolchildren make the trip between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Competition for primary one places is expected to tighten in the next three years. Photo: HKEJ

Mainlanders pose tough competition for primary school places

Hong Kong schoolchildren are facing increasing competition for primary school places from mainlanders. 

Government-run and subsidized primary schools are accepting applications for discretionary places for the September 2016 term.

On Monday, dozens of mainland parents waited in line outside popular primary schools, Apple Daily reports.

Among them was a couple, surnamed Li, who said they want to send their son to La Salle Primary School in Kowloon Tong.

Li is a shareholder of Beijing-based Rong Bao Zhai gallery which sells paintings, calligraphy and antiques.

He picked Hong Kong over Seattle where he owns properties, saying the former offers better education.

The boy was born in Hong Kong. 

The family moved to Hong Kong from Beijing to escape pollution in the Chinese capital.

Since then, they have been spending about HK$6,000 (US$774) a month on the boy’s English language classes and extra-curricular activities, Li said.

Li is planning to spend up to HK$30 million to acquire a flat in Kowloon City or Kowloon Tong to put up his son in the right school district for the central allocation round in June.

Wai Chow Public School in Sheung Shui is a favorite for mainland parents from Shenzhen.

A mother, surnamed Wen, said she bought a 500-square-foot flat in Sheung Shui for HK$3 million last year to ensure her daughter qualifies for a school place in northern district.

Wen said she was attracted by Hong Kong’s democratic space for her daughter’s future.

In preparation for school interviews, the girl attends English, dancing and piano lessons which cost the family about HK$10,000 a month, Wen said.

About 88,000 eligible children will enter primary one next year, rising to 95,000 in 2017 but dropping slightly to 91,000 in 2018, according to the Education Bureau.

Primary school enrolment could hit a new high in the next three years. 

The bureau is urging schools in Sheung Shui to open more primary one classes.

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