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LCQ12: Secondary school places in Tin Shui Wai and Tung Chung

    Following is a question by the Hon Albert Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (November 7):


     Recently, many residents in Tin Shui Wai and Tung Chung have reflected to me that because of insufficient secondary school places in these districts, quite a number of secondary students need to travel long distance to attend schools in other districts. Such students have to spend long hours in travelling every day, and the travel expenses concerned impose a heavy burden on their parents. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the respective numbers of secondary students in Tin Shui Wai and Tung Chung who attended schools in other districts in each of the past three school years;

(b) of the respective numbers of vacant classrooms in secondary schools in Tin Shui Wai and Tung Chung in each of the past three years; and

(c) whether it will consider utilising the vacant classrooms in the districts concerned to operate more classes, so as to ameliorate the situation of secondary students from these districts attending schools in other districts; if so, of the details; if not, of the reasons for that?


Madam President,

     The number of students who attend schools in other districts cannot serve as an indicator of whether the provision of school places in a certain district is sufficient. This is because for secondary school places allocation, whether under or outside the Secondary School Places Allocation (SSPA) System, parents may, at their own discretion, make arrangements for their children to study outside their place of residence. Some students have to travel to another district to attend schools because their families, due to various reasons, may have moved away from the district where their primary schools are located. For students newly moved to developing areas (including Tin Shui Wai and Tung Chung), we have been assisting them to enrol at schools with vacancies in the district taking into account their actual circumstances.

     From the planning perspective, we can make reference to the government's school places allocation mechanism to assess whether the supply of secondary school places can largely meet the demand. Under the SSPA System, the whole territory is divided into 18 school nets. Tin Shui Wai is in the Yuen Long school net, while Tung Chung is in the Islands school net. The school net to which a participating Primary 6 (P6) student belongs is determined by the physical location of the primary school the student attends. If the demand for school places exceeds the supply in a school net, school places will be borrowed from the neighbouring school nets with surplus places to meet the demand. Therefore, each school net not only includes all secondary schools physically located in that district but also some schools in its neighbouring districts.

(a) In the past three school years, the number of P6 students studying in the Yuen Long school net (including Tin Shui Wai) and the Islands school net (including Tung Chung) but allocated subsidised Secondary 1 (S1) places in other districts through the SSPA system is generally small. The other districts involved are also mainly in the vicinity of the school nets concerned. The relevant figures are shown in the table below:

District     School     No. of students    Other
where        year       allocated          districts
primary      for        subsidised places  involved
schools of   S1 entry   'Note 2' in other  in general
P6 students             districts at
located                 central
'Note 1'                allocation
                        (% of such
                        students in the
                        total number of

Yuen Long     2004/05   880                 Tuen Mun
(including              (10%)
Tin Shui      2005/06   480                 Tuen Mun
Wai)                    (6%)
              2006/07   580                 Tuen Mun

Islands       2004/05   60                  Hong Kong
(including              (5%)                region
Tung Chung)   2005/06   50                  Hong Kong
                        (4%)                region
              2006/07   40                  Hong Kong
                        (3%)                region

Note 1: The above figures are calculated on a school net basis. We do not have statistics on a town basis (such as Tin Shui Wai, Tung Chung).
Note 2: It includes S1 places provided by public sector schools and Direct Subsidy Scheme schools taking part in the SSPA.

(b) The situation of vacant classrooms in secondary schools in Tin Shui Wai and Tung Chung in the past three years is as follows:

                      Tin Shui Wai
School Year     No. of Vacant    No. of Schools
                 Classrooms      Involved 'Note 3'
2004/05          11                3
2005/06          27                2
2006/07          18                2

                      Tung Chung
School Year     No. of Vacant    No. of Schools
                 Classrooms       Involved 'Notes 3'
2004/05          49                5
2005/06          32                5
2006/07          19                5

Note 3: Schools involved are developing schools, the class structures of which are not complete.

(c) The Government has all along been concerned about the supply and demand of school places. In the past, we did approve additional classes to accommodate the actual demand of school places in various districts. In the 2007/08 school year, we approved 16 and 1 additional classes for secondary schools in Yuen Long and Islands Districts respectively to meet the demand of school places. We would continue to explore the possibility of operating additional classes to improve the situation. At present, there are not many vacant classrooms in Tin Shui Wai and Tung Chung. To decide whether to operate additional classes using the existing vacant classrooms, we have to consider various factors, including the need to reserve sufficient number of classrooms in developing schools for accommodating students who progress from the junior levels to senior levels. Furthermore, to facilitate the implementation of the New Senior Secondary academic structure, these schools may have to adjust the number of their classes at the senior levels. We have to reserve classrooms to enable students to complete their secondary education in the same school as far as possible.

Ends/Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Issued at HKT 15:20


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