'Fewer cross-border kids can lead to school closure' - RTHK
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'Fewer cross-border kids can lead to school closure'

2020-09-17 HKT 14:57
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  • The group found that some parents plan to pull their cross-border children out of Hong Kong schools if the Covid-19 situation doesn't improve in the SAR. Photo: RTHK
    The group found that some parents plan to pull their cross-border children out of Hong Kong schools if the Covid-19 situation doesn't improve in the SAR. Photo: RTHK
Lawrence Tang talks to RTHK's Joanne Wong
The Federation of Education Workers has warned that there could be class cuts, or even school closures, because of a drop in the number of cross-border students attending Hong Kong schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a survey of more than 2,200 parents of cross-border students by the pro-establishment union group, about one in six indicated that they planned to pull their children out of Hong Kong schools if the Covid-19 situation here doesn't improve.

Some of the parents also said they have encountered technical difficulties with their children's online learning.

And in a survey of principals and vice-principals of 231 schools, 60 percent said there was a decrease in the number of cross-border pupils enrolled in the new academic year, and 90 percent said they have had students drop out since February after Hong Kong started reporting Covid-19 cases.

More than 70 percent said the Education Bureau have not come up with adequate measures to deal with the loss of cross-border students, and were worried that they would face reductions in class numbers, or even a school shutdown.

The federation's vice chairman Lawrence Tang told RTHK's Joanne Wong: "I'm not sure of the certain quantity of the schools which may be closed up, but 10 years ago, every primary school and secondary school maybe have more than 1,000 students... but now today, most of the primary schools only have even 500 students, that's a trend, that's a very bad situation."

The group said the situation was even worse in kindergartens, particularly those in the New Territories such as Tuen Mun, Yuen Long, and Tsuen Wan where the overall dropout rate was as much as 30 percent. The dropout rate was particularly high at four kindergartens in Tsuen Wan, at more than 50 percent.

The federation also urged the government to make sure that coronavirus testing capacity for teachers and students is sufficient as schools prepare to reopen next week. Staff and dozens of students at a primary school in Tuen Mun were being tested for Covid-19 after a 10-year-old pupil there was infected.