Schools taking unusual steps to bolster falling enrolment

July 06, 2015 12:09
A school in Ma On Shan has put up banners outside the campus featuring a visit by education chief Eddie Ng. Photos: HKEJ, Apple Daily

Hong Kong secondary schools are scrambling to shore up enrolment with only about 50,000 students expected to register for the 2015-2016 academic year which begins in September.

Apple Daily is reporting that a school in Ma On Shan has put up a dozen banners around the campus about a recent visit by Secretary for Education Eddie Ng, hoping to attract enrollees.

Others are touting their high-tech credentials, along with their results in open examinations and their university admission rates.

One school in Tsz Wan Shan is offering free uniforms to all new secondary one students.

Two schools in Tuen Mun will allow students free use of its notebook computers.

About 54,700 students are going to secondary one this school year, according to the Education Bureau.

The figure is 2,200 fewer than in the previous year.

James Lam, chairman of the Hong Kong Subsidized Secondary Schools Council, said there will be a surplus of 4,000 secondary one places even if the schools end up with just one fewer student in each class.

Tuen Mun and Sha Tin districts have the most vacancies, with 900 and 450, respectively.

Southern and Eastern districts have a similar problem.

Lam said not all schools would have enough students for two secondary one classes.

Student allocations will be announced on Tuesday.

The Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union (HKPTU) warned secondary teachers could lose their jobs if the trend continues, with 2,500 positions at risk of being wiped out.

It accused education officials of lacking vision, blaming them for falling enrolment numbers.

HKPTU wants the Education Bureau to slash student allocations to each Form One class in the central allocation program until 2020 when the number of eligible enrollees is expected to stabilize.

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