Date
21 September 2017
More and more prestigious schools are considering switching to direct subsidy scheme. The higher threshold means children from rich and poor families will no longer be able to mingle as before. Photo: Handout
More and more prestigious schools are considering switching to direct subsidy scheme. The higher threshold means children from rich and poor families will no longer be able to mingle as before. Photo: Handout

More schools set sights on direct subsidy scheme

An increasing number of traditional band one schools are opting for direct subsidy scheme (DSS), the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The recent teaming up of Confucius Hall Secondary School and Chinese Academy Education Foundation has created another costly private school called the Chinese Academy.

The new school will officially open in September, with 84 students in primary one and two.

Tuition will cost up to HK$112,000 per year, with another HK$36,000 to be charged annually for “school construction”, meaning parents would have to cough up almost HK$150,000 per academic year.

The first phase of construction of the school campus in Causeway Bay is expected to be completed in 2019-2020. The second phase is projected to finish in 2021/22, providing an area of 120,000 square feet that can accommodate more than 500 students.

Principal Law Mei-bo said the student-teacher ratio will be 10 to one, with the medium of instruction mainly English and Putonghua.

There will be no examinations but continuous assessments, making it difficult for students to change schools, education expert Chiu Wing-tak said.

Chiu said that although this method of learning would pose a less stressful environment for children, it could be difficult for teachers to implement the system without help.

Recently, Wah Yan College Hong Kong said it is studying the possibility of turning into a direct subsidy school in 2019.

The school will start consulting parents and alumni next month. Each year, school tuition would be about HK$20,000.

Its primary school section, Pun U Association Wah Yan Primary School, is also keen to follow the DSS scheme, placing tuition fees at around HK$1,000 annually.

Many parents worry that after the schools have changed to DSS, chances of their children getting in would be slimmer.

According to statistics from the Education Bureau, the percentage of private schools and DSS schools are rising rapidly.

The figure in primary schools has gone up to 20.8 percent in 2014 from 14.2 percent in 2004. There has also been a rise among secondary schools, from 21 percent to 23 percent during the same period.

Legislator Ip Kin-yuen said that the more schools opt for higher school fees, the more imbalanced and segregated the students will be as they all come from a certain class of society.

Ip said that children from rich and poor families will no longer be able to mingle as before, which would lower the chance of children from lower-income families getting into traditional schools with a good reputation.

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