A decades-old kindergarten in Kowloon Tong announced on Friday that it plans to close in 2026, citing a significant drop in enrolment numbers.
WH Wong, who founded the Kentville kindergarten in 1966, said the nursery signed up 300 new children this year, but that was a 40 percent drop from last year.
“Like all schools in Hong Kong, Kentville is negatively impacted by the sharp decline in birth rate and the emigration of young families. This has caused a sharp reduction in enrolled students,” she said.
Wong said about a third of the kindergarten's staff, including the principal and senior teachers, are at or near retirement age, adding that a three-year "phased closure" will minimise the impact on the children.
The Hong Kong Kindergarten Association said the closure of a number of nursery schools in Hong Kong highlights the challenges the education sector faces.
"The drop in enrolment will cause a chain effect. It's time to restructure the education sector. In some districts with an ageing population, schools may have to merge. Other schools may need the support of a new operator. These changes are inevitable," said the association's president Tong Siu-fan.
Tong added that kindergartens can offer more personalised pastoral support to pupils as numbers fall, and they can also increase training for staff.