Unfair fight for a place at school?

Unfair fight for a place at school?

Many Hong Kong parents complain that cross-borderstudents are taking the spaces that local pupils should get

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Discretionary places at schools are taken by families with siblings who study or parents who work there.
Photo: K. Y. Cheng/SCMP

Parents living in Sheung Shui have complained that the siblings of cross-border pupils are automatically given Primary One places at a popular school there - spaces they say should have gone to local children.

Many were disappointed as they arrived at Wai Chow Public School yesterday to find out if they had got a place. Almost 27 per cent of the 75 places were given to cross-border children whose siblings were studying or parents were working at the school.

Each year, government-funded schools set aside about half of their Primary One places for the schools to give out. Students who can't get a place through family members must compete for slots based on a points system. Points are awarded for things including religion and family ties with the school.

Anyone who doesn't get one of these places has to take part in the central allocation stage. Through this system, places are given out based on where applicants live and a lucky draw system.

Anushka Purohit, 15, of Renaissance College, thinks local students should be given priority.

"If they [cross-border pupils] take spots that local students could take, where will local students go, especially in a competitive city like Hong Kong?" she asks.

But Belinda Ng, also 15, of South Island School, says it's not fair to blame cross-border students.

"We need to ask why mainland parents bring their children to Hong Kong. We shouldn't blame parents for wanting the best for their children," she said.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Unfair fight for a place at school?

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