No quarter as 45 schools set to raise fees

Local | Mandy Zheng 25 Sep 2020

Forty-five local primary and secondary schools have been given permission by the Education Bureau to increase their fees this year - that's a quarter of last year's 179 schools.

One school raised its fees by nearly 22 percent despite the economic slump, though several elite schools have frozen their fees due to the pandemic.

Of the 45 schools, 23 are under the government's Direct Subsidy Scheme, whose average fee increase for the 2020/21 academic year is 3.68 percent, the bureau said yesterday.

Twelve private schools increased their fees by 8.59 percent on average, while the average figure among 10 international schools is 5.3 percent.

In comparison, 182 schools applied to raise their tuition fees last year, of which all but three were approved by the bureau.

Elite schools such as Diocesan Girls' Junior School and St Paul's Co-Educational College Primary School announced they would be freezing fees in a bid to reduce financial pressures for parents.

The English Schools Foundation, which runs 22 international schools, made the same commitment back in April.

Meanwhile, Lam Tai Fai College in Sha Tin recorded a 21.6 percent year on year increase in tuition fees - the highest among the 45 schools.

The school's primary one students have to pay HK$33,000 a year, compared to HK$27,130 in 2019/20.

Tai Po Sam Yuk Secondary School raised its fees for primary one pupils to HK$9,800 a year, up by 18.6 percent from HK$8,260 last year.

The two were among four Direct Subsidy Scheme schools which saw their tuition fees rise by over 4.41 percent. The average figure for the remaining 19 such schools was below 4.41 percent.

As for the 12 private schools, all but one raised their fees by less than 10 percent. They are all primary schools.

The exception is Pooi To Primary School in Ma Tau Chung, whose yearly tuition fees went from HK$43,000 to HK$48,000 -- a 11.6 percent increase.

For the 10 international schools, two increased their fees by over 10 percent, with the other eight seeing increases of under 10 percent.

Chinese International School in North Point, dubbed the most expensive school in Hong Kong, increased its tuition fees by 2 percent this year, with pupils paying up to HK$266,000 a year.

The Education Bureau said it would carefully scrutinize a school's budget and ensure it consulted the parents when deciding whether to allow them to increase fees or not.

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