Nearly six in ten schools that receive financial support under the government’s Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS) have increased their tuition fees in the new academic year that began this month.
The tuition fee hikes ranged from 2 percent to 20 percent, news website hk01.com reports.
Currently there are 73 DSS schools in Hong Kong, including 52 secondary schools, 12 primary schools and nine secondary-cum-primary schools.
Education Bureau data shows that approvals were granted to 47 institutions that sought to hike tuition payments from this school year. The list comprises nine primary schools and 38 secondary schools.
The bureau said approvals followed established procedures, and that the financial budgets submitted by the schools and the reasons for their applications for fee hikes were all thoroughly examined.
Asked why tuition fees were being hiked, putting a burden on many families, some schools said their costs have gone up due to addition of more teachers and the need to follow the Education Bureau’s instructions to enhance teaching of STEM subjects, which refer to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Among the institutions, Ying Wa Primary School raised its tuition fee for Primary 1 to HK$18,000 from HK$15,000, meaning a 20 percent hike.
Headmistress Maria Lam Woon-sum was quoted as saying that fees had to be raised this year as the school will start offering outdoors course for students to gain more extensive experience, and also because of purchases of additional equipment, such as computers, to facilitate STEM teaching.
She claimed that parents had been notified about the hike in advance and that they all considered the move reasonable.
Workers’ Children Secondary School hiked the tuition fee for Secondary 1, becoming next only to Ying Wa Primary School in terms of the quantum of tuition fee hike.
The school also said it needs more income to cover additional expenses and to remedy deficits appearing in recent years.
Looking at the tuition payment proofs on all DSS schools in Hong Kong, Apple Daily found that Confucius Hall Secondary School in Wan Chai has the biggest tuition hike, for Secondary 6, at around 87 percent.
Meanwhile, Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong has become the second DSS school that charges students more than HK$100,000 a year, joining Creative Secondary School in Tseung Kwan O.
The ISF Academy remains the most expensive private school, with its tuition raised to HK$177,410 to HK$224,070, according to hk01.com.
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