18 February 2019
As many as 67,000 children are seen eligible for Primary One places in the upcoming school year. Photo: HKEJ
As many as 67,000 children are seen eligible for Primary One places in the upcoming school year. Photo: HKEJ

Demand for Primary One places seen at new high next school year

Registration process has begun for parents seeking Primary One places for their children for the 2018/19 school year, Apple Daily reports.

It is estimated that there will be as many as 67,000 children eligible for a Primary One place in the upcoming school year, a new high since the government ended the “doubly non-permanent resident children policy” in 2012.

Prior to 2012, there were around 20,000 to 30,000 doubly non-permanent resident children born in Hong Kong each year.

The “doubly non-permanent” refers to children whose parents are both non-permanent Hong Kong residents.

Although there are more public schools in Shenzhen now, principals of many schools in Hong Kong’s North Districtdo not foresee improvement in the tense competition for school places next year.

From Tuesday until Friday this week, parents may apply for government or aided schools without any geographical limitations.

According to data from the Education Bureau, it is predicted that there will be around 67,000 students eligible for a Primary One place, which is 1,000 more than the figure this year.

A woman surnamed Dai who handed in an application form this week told Apple Daily that although there are many good public schools in Shenzhen, the best choices are still within Hong Kong.

“Education and everything else here is better,” she said.

Another non-permanent resident mother, a lady who gave her surname as Luo, said she and her husband had never considered an education in Shenzhen for their kid.

As a matter of fact, the couple had their son born in Hong Kong only for the purpose of ensuring an education for the child in a local school, she said.

Starting out at a kindergarten in Sheung Shui, her son is now comfortable with cross-border schooling, Luo said. 

“It’s more international, the education system is better, the quality is better; cultural and other aspects are also better than in China,” she told Apple Daily.

Another non-permanent resident mother said that she and her partner would consider all the schools in Sheung Shui for their kid, but definitely will not look at places as far as Shatin.

A lady surnamed Tang said she had paid nearly HK$70 Million for a 1,100 sq. ft. flat in Sheung Shui but is still residing in Lo Wu at present.

She said she bought the flat just in case her child has to go to a secondary school other than what they are seeking right now.

Similarly, another doubly non-permanent resident mother was quoted as saying that she is prepared to move to Sheung Shui to help her son get the best education.

Wong Wing-keung, principal of the Wai Chow Public School (Sheung Shui), said most doubly non-permanent resident children would prefer a school in the North Districtfor geographical reasons.

Fung Kai No. 1 Primary School principal Chu Wai-lam predicts that ultimately the Education Bureau will have to send different students to different schools, given the increase in the number of cross-border students.

Chu’s school has added a new Primary One class under the instruction of the Bureau.

Li Shuk-yin, principal of Fung Kai Innovative School, said his institution has received over 70 registrations already, compared to the 60 slots available, for the next school year.

“There were at least 400 families here at the school open day last week, 30 to 40 percent more than what was seen last year,” she said.

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