'Special-needs kids robbed of schooling near home' - RTHK
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'Special-needs kids robbed of schooling near home'

2019-07-15 HKT 18:19
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  • Parents of 23 children with special needs say they have been told to send their kids to primary schools far away from home. Photo: RTHK
    Parents of 23 children with special needs say they have been told to send their kids to primary schools far away from home. Photo: RTHK
Violet Wong reports
The parents of a group of special-needs children in Kwai Tsing are complaining that their kids have been denied a Primary One place in their own district at the last moment and are being offered distant schools in other districts as an alternative.

The parents said they were told in late May that there is a shortage of Primary One places for 23 special-needs children in the new school year that starts in September.

The Education Bureau told them some pupils from Tung Chung who are currently attending Kwai Tsing school will have to continue there as a new special-needs school being built there has been delayed.

The parents said they were told their children could either can go to school in Sham Shui Po or Tseung Kwan O, but they said either location is too far away.

They noted that school-bus services arranged by the Tseung Kwan O school will cost them HK$1,600 a month, and the government has promised to subsidise only about half of the amount.

One of the parents, surnamed Lam, said this creates a burden, especially for low-income families.

She also said it is hard for special-needs children to travel a long way, because some of them can't take care of themselves.

To make things worse, Lam said the parents have been given only 14 days to make a decision – or their children will be taken out of the queue for a school place near their homes in future.

The parents also worry that their kids may not be able to attend school in Kwai Tsing next year as well, if the Tung Chung project is not finished in time.

They said they will meet with education authorities later this week to discuss the issue.