28th October 2013
North District Parents Urge Education Bureau to Implement Policies to Safeguard HK Students’ Rights
On 27th October, over a hundred of parents from the Sheung Shui and Fanling Mothers’ Club joint by Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, gathered at Sheung Shui Garden, demanding the Education Bureau to ensure that North District children can study in kindergartens within the district, and protest the Bureau’s policies against anchor children taking school spaces in the district for ineffective. Over a hundred of parents from Sheung Shui, Tuen Mun and Tai Po dressed in black and wore a yellow ribbon to attend the protest in Sheung Shui Garden. Hosted by the HKPTU, three parents told their stories on securing their children school spaces at the protest, they also criticised the Secretary for Education’s recent comment “queuing up is normal”. The protestors think that the Education Bureau only relied on outdated data to formulate six “solutions” that are ineffective, and blamed the Bureau for its delayed response and lack of planning.
Sheung Shui & Fanling Mothers’ Club thinks that the Education Bureau’ recent policies failed to prevent anchor children from taking the local school spaces with the held of middlemen and queuing gangs who can queue over nights for days. The Club also says that the Bureau does not show any intention to implement any new policies to seal the loopholes. The parents worry that parents will still have to queue up outside kindergartens over night in the future just to make sure that their children can go to school. The parents also criticised the Education Bureau for failing to estimate the population of school age children and neglecting the demand of the local parents in Hong Kong, but dumped the responsibilities to the kindergartens. They said that with the existing policies, Hong Kongers will be discouraged to give birth. Some parents at the protest also demand Eddie Ng Hak-kim to step down.
Ms Chan Chor-han, a representative from Hong Kong Early Childhood Educators Association, also said that Eddie Ng demanded kindergartens to give out unlimited number of enrollment application forms is ignoring the fact that staff at kindergartens cannot handle thousands of applications within a limited time. Representative of the Club’s sub-club, Year of Dragon Mothers, said that many parents decided to delay their children’s school year by a year in order to avoid the “Year of the Dragon school kids rush” this year, hence there will continue to be shortage of school places in the coming years.