Date of sitting: 23 January 2002
Asked by: Ir Dr Hon Chung-tai
Replied by: SEM
Under the current Primary One Admission System, the applications for admission from children with elder siblings studying or parents working in the schools concerned must all be accepted at the discretionary admission stage. Regarding the practice of according priority to admitting children in this category, will the Government inform this Council:
whether, before adopting such a practice, reference had been made to the methods for allocating primary one school places adopted by overseas countries, if so, of the countries which adopt the same practice as Hong Kong;
of the total number of complaints the Education Department ("ED") has received about the practice since its implementation, and how ED has handle these complaints; and
The current Primary One Admission mechanism was formulated on the basic of the recommendation of the Education Commission (EC) in its report "Reform Proposals for the Education System in Hong Kong" submitted to the Government in September 2000. The new mechanism adapted the old one in accordance with the direction of the education reform. There are two stages in the admission system; namely the Discretionary Places Allocation Stage and the Central Allocation Stage. Under the Discretionary Places Admission Stage of the old mechanism, admission was determined on the basic of a Points System stipulated by the Education Department. Among the categories given the highest points were applicants with siblings studying or parents working in the schools applied for. To facilitate parents to take care of their children and escort them to and from schools, the EC recommended that such applicants should constitute a must-admit category.
In the course of conducting the review, the EC did collect information on the education systems of other places for reference. As the ability difference of children below the age of six is insignificant, most advanced countries and regions have adopted the principle of vicinity in Primary One admission. The EC shares the view that the principle of vicinity should be adopted as far as possible and supplemented by other relatively uncontroversial criteria for priority admission, such as applicants with siblings studying or parents working in the schools applied for.
The public had been widely consulted on the reform proposal made by the EC. The majority of views received supported the above proposal.
The Discretionary Places Admission Stage of the current Primary One Admission cycle was completed in mid-December 2001. Hitherto, the Education Department has not received any complaints from parents against the admission of applicants with siblings studying or parents working in the schools applied for.
The reform of the Primary One Admission system as recommended by the EC is being progressively implemented in two stages. The short-term mechanism applies from the 2002/03 to 2004/05 school years, whereas the long term mechanism will be implemented from the 2005/06 school year onwards. The Points System will be reviewed before the implementation of the long-term mechanism.