SCMP Thursday, October 12, 2000
Eight new schools will allow pupils to continue studies
About eight schools will be built to accommodate the 6,000 Form Four students benefiting from the programme to enable pupils to continue studying beyond junior secondary.
The Government will need to spend $740 million by 2007-8 to operate the transitional schools, which will be phased out after existing schools are expanded to accommodate all their students in senior forms.
Students now in Form One will be the first batch to be covered by the extra government-subsidised places when they are promoted to Form Four in 2003-4.
About 85 per cent of Form Three students - around 80,000 every year - go on to Form Four and Five, with most of the rest going to vocational or private schools. However, less than 30 per cent of the 80,000 are able to win a place to Form Six.
Stephen Hui Chun-yim, chairman of the Hong Kong Subsidised Secondary Schools Council, welcomed the move.
"It's good news that the students won't be left out after Form Three," he said. No plans have been spelt out about whether Form Six and Seven places would be increased, as the Education Commission will decide whether to shorten seven-year secondary schooling to six years in 2002.
But the rigid division of arts and science streams in senior secondary forms will be scrapped.
Also in the Policy Address was a pledge that 60 per cent of senior secondary school leavers - about 55,000 students - would receive tertiary education within a decade. The current figure is less than 30 per cent.
The Chief Executive also announced $10 million for courses for gifted students; $50 million for parent education; increased training for school heads and teachers; and $50 million for uniformed and youth groups to organise school-based activities.