Extra Primary One places in Yuen Long and Tai Po may be allocated to cross-border students to relieve fierce competition with locals in Northern District.
Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim said yesterday this may be achieved by setting a new school net for cross- border students without a Hong Kong address.
Ng said the bureau is seriously considering the suggestion from the education sector and may implement the measures next year at the earliest.
His comments come as parents in Northern District complain that cross-border and mainland children have snapped up Primary One places, resulting in their children facing long distances to schools in other districts.
Calls have mounted for the government to give priority to locals.
Ng believes the measure may eliminate suspicions of unfairness and interdepartmental meetings will be held tp discuss it.
Ways to improve checks at border points such as the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Corridor will also be considered.
For those in Northern District not given primary places close to home by the start of the next school year in September, Ng said the bureau will come up with further arrangements. However he is unable to guarantee they will be allocated schools of their choice.
North District Primary School Heads Association chairman Chan Siu-hung doubts whether the new measure will relieve the pressure.
Chan fears it will send an unclear message to parents of children from Hong Kong who have homes in both the mainland and the SAR.
"There will be labeling effects on schools that are willing to give out excess places. Does that imply the school is unpopular or substandard ? In the end, maybe no schools will hand out excess places," he said. BEATRICE SIU