Hong Kong’s largest provider of international education has confirmed that it has secured Education Bureau approval to raise its fees by between 5.4 and 27.5 per cent for 17 of its schools in the next academic year.
Year Two fees in the nine primary schools run by the English Schools Foundation (ESF) will see the biggest rise: up 27.5 per cent to HK$106,500. Institutions affected include Beacon Hill and Sha Tin Junior schools.
Fees for the Jockey Club Sarah Roe School will also rise by the same proportion.
A spokeswoman for the foundation said the sharp rise was caused mainly by the loss of the government subvention, which started being phased out last year, over a period of 13 years. She said of the HK$23,000 increase, a total of HK$17,300 was caused by the government not subsidising this batch of pupils, while the rest was caused by cost increases.
As there was already a significant increase for Year One last year, the annual fee for this grade will rise by only 5.8 per cent to HK$106,500. This means parents of pupils who joined the ESF system in Year One last year have already been paying a higher fee.
The annual fee for Years Three to Six will go up by 6.8 per cent to HK$89,200, while that for Years Seven to 11 will be raised by 6.2 per cent to HK$122,900. This is similar to last year’s increases.
As for Years 12 to 13, the annual fee will go up by 6.3 per cent to HK$129,100.
Joy Lee, 15, from South Island School, says the sharp increase of school fees is shocking.
“The increase seems to contradict the foundation’s mission, which is to provide a high quality education to students from all over the world regardless of their social status. I hope that a portion of the new HK$5 billion education can be spent on subsiding the ESF to avoid tremendous rises in school fees.”
Henry Lui, 18, from Sha Tin College, said the increase was inevitable as the ESF needed to maintain the quality of education it provided to students.
“I’m worrying about the middle-income families in the New Territories as they may find it hard to afford such increasing school fees,” he told Young Post on Friday.
Foundation CEO Belinda Greer said: “ESF reviews its school fees on an annual basis considering a range of factors including market trends, staffing and building maintenance. In order for us to ensure ESF’s long-term financial sustainability ... it is necessary for us to increase fees.”
The ESF spokeswoman said the Education Bureau still had to approve proposed fees for other ESF schools.
International schools in Hong Kong are known for their high fees. For example, parents of pupils at the ISF Academy in Pok Fu Lam will have to fork out between HK$177,410 and HK$224,070 for the coming academic year.