SCMP Wednesday, May 31, 2000


'Through-train' schooling trials


Sites were allocated yesterday for trials of the "through-train" schooling system under which children pass automatically from primary school to a linked secondary school without having to prepare applications or pass exams.

Eleven sponsoring bodies were allocated sites to try out the system, which is favoured by the Education Commission, in schools due for completion in the next two years.

Thirty-seven school sites and 27 kindergarten premises were recommended by the School Allocation Committee headed by the Director of Education. The committee had received 240 applications.

Two sponsoring bodies were each allocated a pair of primary and secondary schools in Tseung Kwan O and Tin Shui Wai. Nine other sponsoring bodies, also allocated school sites for the next two academic years, have pledged to open primary and secondary schools in the same premises or form "through-train" projects with associated secondary schools.

"Associated primary and secondary schools are helpful for students' development. We encourage sponsoring bodies to try out the through train," said Lee Hing-fai, Senior Assistant Director of Education.

Seven Direct Subsidy Scheme primary and secondary schools were allocated school sites. The pro-Beijing Hon Wah Middle School and Heung To Middle School were also granted sites. Schools operated under the scheme enjoy greater autonomy than schools fully in the public sector.

Three sites were allocated to sponsoring bodies for private independent schools.

Committee member Pang Yiu-kai said some sponsoring bodies would operate Direct Subsidy Scheme schools in remote districts such as Tin Shui Wai and Tseung Kwan O. "It is encouraging to see a new mode of schools springing up outside urban areas," he said.