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Educated Decisions - Housing over Schooling

By ITS Education Asia

Hong kong Academy

Hong Kong’s success is in part based on the ever-changing kaleidoscope of corporate nomads who have been prepared to uproot their families and come here quicker than HR say “expat package”.

However, when it comes to schools, they are increasingly finding there’s no space for their children. Many professionals are deciding against moving here as they simply can’t get their children into schools.

And the Hong Kong Government seems reluctant to change the situation. Recently, it was revealed that Hong Kong Academy, which is temporarily located at a school site in Kennedy Town, may be turned into flats once the premises
are vacated in the early summer. http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1122471/education-experts-angry-possible-third-school-site-turned-flats?fb_action_ids=10151162113805728&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=246965925417366

This has angered education professionals who say the government is putting housing before schooling needs. So true indeed! The Government is not getting top marks for releasing new land for educational purposes and now a perfectly good site for a school will be turned into a housing project.

Hong Kong Academy will return the land to the government after the temporary lease expires in the summer. The students are moving to a new state-of-the art campus in Sai Kung, which is to open in August 2013. It is estimated that there will be a shortage of 4,200 primary, international school places in the next few years.

The French International School has 2,300 students spread over three campuses. The moment the newest campus opened in February 2011, it was swarmed with 600 children.  The Canadian School is also full to the gills
with over 2,830 students. The situation does not look much better for The Australian School. There are currently 1,100 students enrolled and all grades
have long waitlists. And as for ESF, “Every School is full”!

When Harrow officially released notice of opening a campus in Hong Kong; the school was inundated with applications.  Since opening in September 2012, the interest and popularity of the School has increased three-fold and Harrow now too has
long waitlists for most grades.

Sadly, it seems that the Hong Kong Government isn’t focusing on the fact that while housing may bring short-term profit and investment, it may be losing out in the longer term.  A lack of schooling opportunities will
ultimately interfere with Hong Kong’s ability to attract foreign talent and at some point that will affect who is moving into those houses and working in Hong Kong’s glowing skyscrapers.

What does the future hold for expats and their families moving to Hong Kong? For the moment, it holds increasing educational costs, preferential treatment, limited school spaces and a great deal of stress. A lot of change will have to occur and lessons need to be learned before the situation improves.

Dulwich College Singapore

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