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LCQ11: Primary One place supply

    Following is a question by the Hon Abraham Shek and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (June 27):


     It has been reported that a baby boom is anticipated in the current Year of the Pig (i.e. from mid-February 2007 to early February 2008), and it is expected that there will be a sharp rise in the number of children reaching the minimal age for studying at Primary One level in 2013. Given that more primary schools will continue to be closed down under the consolidation policy, will the Government inform this Council of the measures it will adopt to provide sufficient primary school places for school-aged children from 2013 onwards?


Madam President,

     According to the provisional birth figures so far available to the Government, there is no sign of a sharp rise in the number of babies born in the current Year of the Pig. The number of babies born in Hong Kong during February to April 2007 was about 14 000, slightly less than the figure of 14 164 for the same period last year. Excluding those babies who were born to Mainland women and whose fathers are not Hong Kong permanent residents (their ultimate stay in/return to Hong Kong is therefore uncertain), the birth figure for February to April 2007 was about 10 400, around 600 babies less than that for the same period last year.

     We wish to point out that we should not rely solely on the birth figure of a particular year to project the number of students in future years, such as using the birth figure for 2007 to project the number of Primary One students for the 2013/14 school year. This is because population movements, including those of new arrivals from the Mainland and of babies born to Mainland women in Hong Kong, during the intervening years would affect the size of the student population in future years. The Census and Statistics Department will release an updated set of population projections later this year, taking account of the latest trends of births, deaths and population movements. Taking into consideration this new set of population projections and the school sector's views and concerns, the Education and Manpower Bureau will review the arrangements for operation of Primary One classes in the coming years.

Ends/Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Issued at HKT 12:55


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