Almost 80 per cent of public secondary schools in East Kowloon do not meet Education Bureau standards, says a South China Morning Post study.
Government guidelines say all public secondary schools should be on a site of at least 7,000 square metres. They should have 30 classrooms, plus 21special rooms for teaching and learning.
Those that fail to meet the standards can apply for a new site - but only one site has been made available to public schools in the past five years.
The affected schools include Choi Hung Estate Secondary School (pictured). Its 800 students squeeze into only 3,040 sq m of space. Its two applications for new sites have been rejected in the past seven years. "If we had a bigger campus, I'm sure our students would achieve more," principal Job Li Po-hung says.
Michele Chan, 14, of Wycombe Abbey School, in Britain, feels a school's campus size and environment are vital for a student's growth and wellbeing.
"A new campus with a multi-purpose sports court will allow students to play basketball, football or netball at breaks," she says. "This will relieve stress, and students will find it more fun to go to school."
Crystal Tai, 18, a student at SKH Lam Woo Memorial Secondary School, says: "A good education system means having a syllabus that enriches students with practical knowledge, plus a fair system for examining a student's academic performance and their character.
"But it also requires a big space where students can relax and explore their full potential. Sadly, education in Hong Kong lacks such things."
Yet Bryan Chan Chun-yin, 17, of St Joseph's Anglo-Chinese School, says his experience shows compact campuses help students and teachers to bond. "The smaller campus [has] driven us to take care of each other more because of the lack of contemporary facilities; [we've] seen the school as our second home."