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LCQ8: Primary One student projections

    Following is a question by Dr Hon Yeung Sum and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (June 6):


     The number of babies born in Hong Kong in 2003 was the lowest in recent years.  As these babies will start primary school in 2008, some primary schools may be forced to cease operation due to under-enrolment.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a)  of the estimated numbers of students, places and surplus places in Primary One (P1), as well as the supply and demand of P1 classes, in each of the three school years starting from 2008-2009; and

(b)  whether it will consider relaxing the existing requirement of a minimum intake of 23 students for primary schools to operate P1 classes; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?


Madam President,

(a)  We will have to make reference to the updated population projections to be released by the Census and Statistics Department later this year to update our assessment on the number of P1 students territory-wide in the three school years starting from 2008/09, and with that assessment come up with more meaningful projections on the comparison between demand and supply at the P1 level.  Making reference solely to the birth figures recorded by the Government, we note that the number of babies born in 2003 is less than that in 2002 by some 1200 and this cohort of babies will reach the minimal age for admission to primary schools (i.e. five years and eight months) until the 2009/10 school year.  We also wish to point out that, notwithstanding the availability of updated P1 student projections later, it would be difficult for us to predict the number of schools that would be under-enrolled at P1 level each year.  This is because the number of under-enrolled schools would depend on variables such as demographic movements, parental choices, class structure and development plan of individual schools.

(b)  Taking into account the latest population projections as well as the school sector's views and concerns, the Education and Manpower Bureau will review the arrangements for operation of P1 classes in the 2008/09 school year and thereafter.  For the time being, we are not in a position to offer specific details.

Ends/Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Issued at HKT 12:04


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