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LCQ8: Student departures

     Following is a question by the Hon Cyd Ho Sau-lan and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (January 13):


     Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it knows the respective numbers in each of the past five years, broken down by age, of primary and secondary school students who:

(i) had been suspended from school as a result of expulsion by their schools, and the reasons for their expulsion;

(ii) could return to mainstream schools after suspension from school, and the duration of their suspension; and

(iii) could not return to mainstream schools after suspension from school, and the reasons for that;

(b) of the current procedures for the authorities to follow up cases of expelled students; and

(c) whether it knows which organisations and how they help those students rebuild their self-esteem and family relationships before they resume schooling, and the number of students these organisation can help each year, with a breakdown by the nature of services they provide?



     My consolidated reply to the questions is as follows:

     According to the Codes of Aid and relevant circulars issued by the Education Bureau (EDB), by virtue of students' right to education, schools should not expel students.  Schools should neither force their students to leave school nor advise them to leave voluntarily on grounds of poor academic performance, misbehaviour or any other reasons.  If students have difficulties in learning or adapting to school life, schools should deploy resources as far as practicable to provide appropriate assistance and counselling services for them.
     Schools are required to report to EDB on student departures together with the reasons.   According to the information provided by schools, no students have been suspended as a result of expulsion by their schools in the past five years.   Generally speaking, the reported reasons of departures include transferring to other schools, taking up employment, leaving Hong Kong, studying other courses and dropping out of schools.  No reports of students being expelled or advised to leave school voluntarily have been received during the period.  As for reported cases of non-attendance or suspected student dropout, the Non-attendance Cases Team of the EDB will take follow-up action to arrange for the students to resume schooling at the earliest opportunity.

     To protect students' right to education, the EDB monitors the situation through inspections, visits and liaison with schools and reminds schools to take appropriate and effective measures to help students attend school.  On receipt of any suspected case of student being expelled from school or the parent being forced to sign a letter of voluntary withdrawal, the EDB will investigate and deal with the case promptly.  Appropriate follow-up actions will be taken against those schools that have violated the education principle, including issuing warning letters to the principals concerned.  For schools that have repeatedly violated the education principle, the EDB will consider stepping up the measures, including issuing warnings to the school management committees or incorporated management committees and making such information about the school known to the public, in order to further safeguard students' right to education.

Ends/Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Issued at HKT 14:41


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