SCMP Wednesday, August 29, 2001


Prefab classrooms for 7 schools

GARY CHEUNG

Seven secondary schools will put students in temporary classrooms for up to five years because of an influx of pupils who successfully appealed against discrimination in their school allocation.
The 350-square-feet prefabricated classrooms will be used by senior students when the appeal pupils enter high school.
About 500 extra pupils are being shared among 10 government and two subsidised schools, after appealing against their allocation.
The 500 were among 3,001 who won their appeals, but initially missed out on better schools because of a shortage of places.
Education Director Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said that in the new school year the seven government schools would run extra classes in the prefabricated units, each accommodating about 20 students.
Three of the schools involved were Tuen Mun Government Secondary School, South Tuen Mun Government Secondary School and Heung Yee Kuk Yuen Long District Secondary School.
For each of the 12 schools taking students, the department has promised two extra teachers and up to $500,000 if renovations are necessary.
The appeals were based on a ruling by the High Court last month that the practice of processing boys and girls separately in the secondary school allocation system was discriminatory.
Mr Cheung said the prefabricated units, assembled by the Architectural Services Department, were air-conditioned and equipped with standard classroom facilities.
"All Secondary One students will attend classes in ordinary classrooms while some senior forms students may have to use the units for some lessons," he said.
The principal of South Tuen Mun Government Secondary School, Mak Suk-hing, said that the school would have to provide a "floating class" , without a permanent home room, at Secondary Four level to create an additional classroom for Secondary One students.
To create the extra space three of the small temporary classrooms would be used.
"The transitional arrangement is acceptable although it will last for five years," she said.
Ms Mak said some senior students would have to attend classes in special rooms, including science laboratories, before the units were available in October.