Primary places stay competitive

Local | Mandy Zheng 24 Nov 2020

Mandy Zheng

Parents said they did not see any impact of Hongkongers' surging interest in emigration to have caused the primary one discretionary allocation process to be any less competitive this year when it came to gaining places in top schools.

Admission results showed 23,107 children going into government or aided primary schools in the semester starting September 2021, accounting for 46.4 percent of over 49,000 applicants - the highest ratio since 2011.

As admission lists were announced yesterday, some nervous parents gathered at schools to check the results, though many schools had already offered the results online due to the pandemic.

One of them was a Mr Yam, who said he felt "very excited" that his son got into the prestigious La Salle Primary School in Kowloon Tong.

Himself an alumnus of La Salle, Yam said his son's name had been entered only for that school, and he thought competition remained intense.

Many primary and secondary schools, including top ones like Diocesan Girls' School and Heep Yunn School, have seen more students dropping out this year as families headed overseas. Some also saw students transfer to international schools in the SAR due to the political tension.

But Yam believed the phenomenon had little impact on the primary one discretionary allocation, with "many youngsters competing for places at famous schools."

He added: "I prefer my son to study in Hong Kong because this is my home after all. I'll think about letting him study overseas only when he's older."

He also said his son attended tutorial classes in Chinese, English and math as well as an online class that coached children how to perform well during admissions interviews.

Another parent said he had found out his son was admitted to La Salle on its website, but still went to the school to check.

"This is a special year because of the pandemic," he said. "Class suspensions have had a big impact and parents have to help their kids keep up with their studies."

He added that he had considered sending his son to a school overseas but decided to wait until he is older.

Mr Ng, whose grandson secured a spot at La Salle, said he was happy the boy could study in a school with "a good ethos."

His son had already seen online that the boy had a place, Ng said, "but I'm so nervous that I had to come here to confirm it."

The primary one admission system applies to 455 government or aided primary schools - 77 percent of all primary schools in Hong Kong. Each school can designate about 50 percent of its total primary one places as discretionary slots.

The remaining 50 percent are reserved for a central allocation, which will take place in late January.

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