Date
23 October 2017
This Hong Kong mother, surnamed Tsui (inset) quit her job and moved her family back to Hong Kong from Shenzhen to help her second daughter get into Maryknoll Convent School. Photo: Apple Daily, schooland.hk
This Hong Kong mother, surnamed Tsui (inset) quit her job and moved her family back to Hong Kong from Shenzhen to help her second daughter get into Maryknoll Convent School. Photo: Apple Daily, schooland.hk

The ‘daughter project’: Mom tries to beat the school system

You could call it the “daughter project” but it’s not what you think.

It’s not about having a baby girl in the family — the daughter is already school age — but about getting her into a Hong Kong public school in 2016.

For that reason, a Hong Kong mother, surnamed Tsui, and her husband will go to any length to make it happen.

First, Tsui quit her job as a hotel management consultant and moved her family back to Hong Kong from Shenzhen.  

She and her husband, who works in the financial services industry, then took out a long lease on a HK$40,000-a-month flat in Kowloon Tong for the family which also includes two other daughters.

They are aiming to get their second child into Maryknoll Convent School, a public girls’ school in Kowloon Tong, one of the most sought-after school districts.

The Tsuis’ eldest daughter is enrolled in a private school and their youngest is soon to enter primary school.  

Isn’t Tsui overdoing it?

“I don’t think I am. I am just trying my best to help my daughters with their education”, she told Apple Daily.

Tsui is hoping that if her second daughter is accepted to  Maryknoll, she will pave the way for her sisters to enrol in that school under a point system for allocating school places to students from the same family.

Maryknoll had a quota of 75 new admissions in the first round of this enrolment cycle.

Tsui’s daughter did not make it but the family is not giving up. They will cast their lot in a lottery in the second round scheduled for June.

The “daughter project” plays out in many Hong Kong families around the start of a new school year, driven by intense competition for primary places in public schools.

It’s the same fierce spirit that fuels a similar effort among families with school-age boys.

La Salle Primary School is highly coveted but with a quota of just 90 new discretionary admissions, it’s as tough a playing field for boys as it gets.

Less than half of the present quota was allocated to students from the same family or to sons of teachers and staff.

The rest was awarded via a point system in which applicants who had at least one family member graduate from La Salle had the best chance of success.

The system has been heavily criticized by parents who say it smacks of hereditary succession.

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BT/AC/RA

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