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LCQ1: Assisting direct subsidy schools in acquiring permanent school premises

     Following is a question by Dr the Hon Kenneth Chan and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Education, Mr Kevin Yeung, in the Legislative Council today (May 21):


     It has been reported that St Margaret's Girls' College, Hong Kong on Caine Road, Central has decided to cease operation gradually from September this year as it cannot afford the drastic increase in the rental of its school premises. It has stopped admitting Secondary One (S1) students and is discussing the relevant arrangements with the Education Bureau (EDB). In the new school year, the school will be relocated to its temporary school premises in Shatin and will continue to operate until all its existing students have graduated. There are comments that this incident reveals that direct subsidy schools (DSSs) which need to rent private premises as their school premises are susceptible to relocation or closure at any time as a result of rental problems. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1)  whether it knows the current number of DSSs operating in leased school premises, and set out by name of the school concerned the lease periods, the rental levels and the names of the landlords of the school premises;

(2)  when EDB received notification from the aforesaid school of its planned closure, as well as details of the follow-up work carried out and the specific arrangements made; whether EDB requested the school to consult the students and parents on its decision on closure; if it did, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(3)  whether it has assessed how the closure of the aforesaid school will affect the supply of secondary school places in the Central and Western District, and whether the female students in the district who are progressing to S1 will need to attend schools in other districts as a result; if it has assessed and the outcome is in the affirmative, of the details and whether the Government will take measures to assist the female students in the district who are progressing to S1 in being admitted to schools in the same district; and

(4)  whether it will consider afresh assisting the aforesaid school immediately in searching for permanent school premises, so that the school can continue to operate, thereby addressing the aspirations of the parents and students; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



(1)  Other than St Margaret's Girls' College, Hong Kong (SMGCHK), there is another school under Direct Subsidy Scheme which is currently operating in leased school premises. The Education Bureau (EDB) considers it not appropriate to disclose the relevant tenancy information without prior approval of the landlord and the school involved.

(2)  The EDB received a letter from SMGCHK on October 26, 2012, informing us of its intention to phase out operation from September 2014. The Bureau subsequently contacted SMGCHK to learn about its needs and its views on using a vacant school premises on a temporary basis, and reminded the school repeatedly to widely consult stakeholders (including parents and students) and duly address their concerns. In late August 2013, SMGCHK applied to the EDB for the temporary use of a vacant school premises in Shatin from September 2014 to August 2019. SMGCHK has stated that it will not enrol secondary one students during the period and ensure the provision of a broad curriculum to its students as well as arrangement of school bus service for students residing on the Hong Kong island.

(3)  According to the student survey, secondary day schools in the Central and Western District have an intake of about 11 580 students and provide about 12 330 places (excluding those of SMGCHK) in the 2013/14 school year. The projected school-age population aged 12 to 17 residing in the Central and Western District for the 2014/15 to 2018/19 school years is between 10 700 and 9 200. It is anticipated that the supply of school places should be able to meet the demand. It is noteworthy that parents have been arranging cross-district schooling for their children out of different considerations.  The respective Regional Education Office of the EDB will provide individual parents with information on school vacancies upon request. As requested, the EDB has approved SMGCHK to use a vacant school premises in Shatin on a time-limited basis from September 2014 to August 2019 to enable its existing students to complete their secondary education smoothly during the phasing-out period.

(4)  Land is a valuable resource.  School premises have all along been allocated in an open and objective manner based on the relative merits of the applicants and their proposed school plans.  Should SMGCHK like to identify a permanent campus sponsored by the government to continue its operation, it could apply for a suitable premises through the School Allocation Exercise (SAE). Under the established mechanism, if any school site/vacant school premises is identified to be suitable for allocation for school use, the EDB will normally announce it on its website or via press release to invite eligible school sponsoring bodies in the territory to apply.  SMGCHK may then submit an application to EDB through the SAE.

Ends/Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Issued at HKT 11:28


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