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LCQ8: Supply of and demand for international school places
     Following is a question by the Hon Jeffrey Lam and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim, in the Legislative Council today (December 14):

     According to the findings of a consultancy study released in 2012 on the provision of international school places at primary and secondary levels in Hong Kong, there will be a projected shortfall of 4 203 primary places in the 2016/17 school year. Some members of the business sector have relayed to me that when overseas talents and investors consider whether to develop their careers and conduct investment activities in Hong Kong, they are very concerned about whether they can arrange their minor children to be enrolled in the international schools in Hong Kong. As most of them will work or conduct investment activities in business districts after arriving in Hong Kong, international school places on Hong Kong Island are much in demand. Moreover, there has been a rising trend in recent years in the number of local students enrolling in international schools. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the current number of international school places, broken down by the three regions of Kowloon, the New Territories and Hong Kong Island; whether it knows the number of students currently enrolled in international schools, broken down by the districts in which they live;
(2) whether it knows the respective numbers and percentages of local students and overseas students among the students of international schools in each of the past three school years;
(3) of the measures adopted by the authorities in the past three school years to boost the number of international school places in the regions of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon; and
(4) whether the authorities have any long-term policy in place to solve the problem of inadequate supply of international school places; if they do, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
     The Government is committed to developing a vibrant international school sector through various measures mainly to meet the demand for international school places from overseas families living in Hong Kong and families coming to Hong Kong for work or investment. My response to the four parts of the question raised by Hon Jeffrey Lam is as follows:
(1) The distribution of international school places and students by region, and the areas of residence of international school students in the 2015/16 school year are set out at Annex 1.
(2) The numbers and percentages of local and non-local students among the students in international schools from the 2013/14 to 2015/16 school years are set out at Annex 2.
(3) and (4) We have implemented a number of measures to support the development of the international school sector, including allocation of vacant school premises (VSPs) and greenfield sites (sites) for developing international schools, facilitation of in-situ expansion and redevelopment of existing international schools, provision of interest-free loan for the construction of school premises according to established mechanism, etc. According to the findings of a consultancy study completed in end-2012 (the 2012 Study), it is projected that based on the position of the 2011/12 school year, there would be an estimated shortfall of around 4200 primary international school places by the 2016/17 school year. To meet the projected shortfall, we have allocated a total of five VSPs and three sites for international school development via the two School Allocation Exercises (SAEs) commenced in 2012 and 2014 respectively. Of these eight development projects, three are on the Hong Kong Island and one is in Kowloon. About a total of some 6 000 places will be gradually provided by these eight new international school campuses from the 2014/15 school year onwards, including at least about 4 700 primary school places. Furthermore, we have provided policy support to the expansion plans of two existing international schools on the Hong Kong Island, and facilitated the schools' liaison with relevant government departments for taking forward the projects. These two projects are in the pipeline and are expected to gradually provide a total of 1 100 international school places starting from the 2017/18 school year onwards.
     Further to the 2012 Study, we have commissioned a new round of study to update the latest provision of international school places at primary and secondary levels in Hong Kong based on the status in the 2015/16 school year, and to project the demand and supply of international school places in the seven school years starting from 2016/17. This study also includes collection of views from international schools, business sector and international community, in order to have a deeper understanding of the concerns of different stakeholders. Such information, coupled with the past trends of demand for international school places and the forecast changes in economic growth, etc., will be useful reference for projecting the demand for international school places from overseas families coming to Hong Kong for work or investment. The consultant is finalising the analysis and study report. It is expected that relevant work will be completed in the coming month. Subject to the findings of the study and availability of suitable sites/VSPs for international school development, we will consider whether and if so, when to launch another SAE for international school development.
Ends/Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:15
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