LCQ21: Cross-boundary students progressing to Secondary One
At present, quite a number of students cross the boundary from the Mainland to attend school in Hong Kong (cross-boundary students) every day. It has been reported that the number of cross-boundary students graduating from primary schools this year will be significantly higher than those in the past few years. Although the number of Secondary One (S1) places for the next school year will increase accordingly, there will only be an additional 283 S1 places in secondary schools using English as the medium of instruction, which are more popular among parents. It is therefore expected that there will be intense competition for S1 places. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the number of cross-boundary students who will progress to S1 in the next school year, and its percentage in the total number of S1 students, as estimated by the authorities;
(2) since there will be an increase in the number of cross-boundary students progressing to S1 in the next school year, whether the authorities will allocate additional resources to those schools in districts such as North District and Tai Po, which have all along been admitting a relatively larger number of cross-boundary students; if so, of the details;
(3) given the differences between cross-boundary and local students in aspects such as culture and language, of the additional measures to be put in place by the authorities to assist cross-boundary students progressing to S1 in adapting to school life quickly; and
(4) as it is expected that the demand for S1 places will rise continuously between the current school year and the 2020/21 school year, of the authorities' long-term plans for the supply of S1 places in the coming few years?
Provision of public sector secondary school places is planned on a territory-wide basis. The Education Bureau (EDB) sees to it that there is sufficient provision of Secondary One (S1) places to meet the demand for every cycle of the Secondary School Places Allocation (SSPA). To cope with the progressive rebound of S1 student population, the EDB has discussed and preliminarily achieved a consensus with the sector on the directions and strategies for addressing the projected increase in the demand for S1 places in the forthcoming years.
Our reply to Hon Chan Hak-kan's question is as follows:
(1) The estimated number of Primary 6 students participating in SSPA 2018 is around 50 300, of which about 2 100 are cross-boundary students (CBS) (including approximately 200 students currently studying in classes for Hong Kong students in Shenzhen), accounting for around 4% of the total number of students participating in SSPA.
(2) To ensure that schools are provided with the manpower and resources correspondent to their needs in teaching and student support for provision of quality education, under the prevailing mechanism, the resources allocated to each public sector school, including recurrent grants and teaching staff establishment, are mainly calculated according to the number of classes approved by the EDB. With the increase in the number of students participating in SSPA (including CBS), the overall number of approved classes will increase accordingly and so will the resources allocated. For SSPA 2018, apart from the established practice of netting arrangements and assuming schools currently operating less than three S1 classes will operate three S1 classes in the estimation of supply of S1 places for the next school year, we anticipate that the number of S1 classes has to be increased in the North and Tai Po districts in the coming school year to meet the demand. If the actual number of S1 classes operated by a school exceeds the number projected, it will be provided with additional resources accordingly.
(3) The EDB has all along been assisting newly arrived CBS to integrate into the local community and overcome learning barriers. Parents may choose to enrol them on a full-time Initiation Programme, which lasts for six months and covers Chinese, English, as well as learning and social adaptation skills, before studying in mainstream schools. For the vast majority of newly arrived students who choose to study in mainstream schools direct, their schools can also make use of the School-based Support Scheme Grant to organise school-based support programmes such as tutorial classes, orientation activities and guidance activities for them. The EDB also subsidises non-governmental organisations to run a 60-hour Induction Programme at night or on weekends for newly arrived students studying in mainstream schools to understand the local community and culture, as well as to master learning skills. Furthermore, as a holistic approach to assisting these students in meeting their learning needs, schools may flexibly utilise various kinds of EDB resources to address students' learning diversities and help them integrate into the learning environment. If there are any challenges in learning, social life, behavioural and emotional developments, they may seek help from school social workers or student guidance personnel who may render assistance as needed and, where necessary, refer their cases to other service units for appropriate services. Generally speaking, most CBS promoted to S1 in public sector schools have studied in public sector primary schools in Hong Kong. It is believed that they have accommodated to the possible differences in terms of culture, language, etc.
(4) Based on the information available, the overall number of S1 students is expected to rebound steadily from the 2017/18 school year onwards. To address the projected increase in the demand for S1 places in the forthcoming years, the EDB and the sector met and reached a consensus in October 2017 on the framework of directions and strategies for dealing with the issue, which includes adopting the established arrangements under SSPA, and progressively reverting the allocation class size to 34 upon the rebound of S1 student population (i.e. "place reinstating") as pledged by the sector prior to the implementation of the targeted relief measures, "three-fold preservation policy". To facilitate early preparation of the sector, both parties agreed to withhold the "place reinstating" arrangement in SSPA 2018. Such arrangement will be implemented across-the-board in SSPA 2019, the magnitude of which is subject to the projected demand, when the shortfall in overall S1 places is projected to be significant. Moreover, if there is still a shortfall in school places in individual districts after adopting the established netting arrangements of school places, the number of S1 classes of these districts will be increased in order to meet the demand. The EDB will continue to review the supply of and demand for S1 places, and maintain communication with the sector to ensure that the demand for S1 places is fully met in each cycle, and the development of schools is sustainable and stable.
Ends/Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Issued at HKT 12:20
Issued at HKT 12:20