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LCQ18: Private independent schools

    Following is a question by Dr the Hon David Li and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (October 17):


     According to the Government's standard conditions for the allocation of a school site for the construction of a private independent school, a school sponsoring body shall ensure that at least 70% of the students enrolled with the school concerned are local children. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the definition of "local children" in the above condition; and

(b) whether the above condition applies from the first year of operation of the school concerned and, if not, of the timetable for applying the condition?


Madam President,

     It is Government's policy to distinguish between Private Independent Schools ("PIS") and international schools. In terms of student mix, PISs should serve a more locally-based student body and should not target at children of any particular foreign nationalities. In this regard, we expect that at least 70% of the student population in a PIS are local children. In terms of curriculum, PISs may provide either local or non-local curricula (whereas international schools generally provide non-local curricula).

     Our reply to the two parts of the question is as follows:

(a) Since PISs are intended to serve a more locally-based student body, we generally expect the "local children" served by these schools to be permanent residents of Hong Kong. That said, without prejudice to the capacity of the PISs to address the potential demand from local children, we believe it is necessary to give the schools suitable flexibility in implementing the target student mix having regard to changing circumstances in demand and supply.

(b) Since PISs operate in the private market on a self-financing basis, it is necessary to give them suitable flexibility in student admission to meet market changes in demand and supply and to sustain their operation. This is especially so for the existing PISs which are all in their early years of operation and are still in the process of building up their enrolment.  In this regard, we have invited these PISs to draw up their admission policies and an appropriate school-based timetable for achieving the target student mix. We will follow up with individual PISs on the basis of the plans drawn up and monitor the situation accordingly.

Ends/Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Issued at HKT 14:15


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