The Education Bureau approved 39 applications to increase tuition fees from private or international schools, with 100 applications still pending approval.
According to the Education Bureau, 47 private schools have applied for increases in tuition fees for the coming academic year. Among the 47 applications:
- 30 schools applied for an increase of 7% or less.
- 12 schools applied for an increase between 7.1% to 20%
- 5 schools applied for an increase between 21 to 30%.
The Education Bureau said that 19 applications have been approved so far.
Meanwhile, 46 international schools have applied to raise tuition fees, according to media reports. with 35 schools applying for an increase of 7% or below, and 11 schools applying for 7.1% to 20%. The authorities said 20 applications have been approved so far.
Forty-six schools under the direct subsidy scheme have also applied for rises in tuition fees. All applications are currently being processed.
Schools in Hong Kong are mainly divided into four categories: subsidised schools, direct subsidised schools, private schools and international schools. Subsidised schools are entirely subsidised by the government, whereas the latter three are allowed to charge students a certain amount of tuition fees. These schools generally have more resources than subsidised schools and are allowed more freedom to set their own curriculum.
Since the introduction of the direct subsidy scheme in 1991, many “famous schools” in Hong Kong have been attracted to join the scheme in search of better resources and freedom. In recent years, parents and students have complained that the trend of “famous schools” switching to direct subsidy mode will prevent students from low-income families from receiving high quality education.
In 2013, students and parents protested over a decision by St. Stephen’s Girls’ College to switch to direct subsidy mode. They argued that this would deprive students of “equal education opportunities”, and that it would affect their social mobility in the future. The plan was eventually scrapped after students and alumni pressed the school repeatedly to drop it.
In response to criticism, the Education Bureau will require some primary schools to set up tuition fee remission for students from low-income families starting from 2016.
However, Hong Kong parents will still need to pay more as tuition fees for private and international schools rise in the next academic year.
Kowloon True Light Middle School primary section, a direct subsidised school in Hong Kong, will increase tuition fees by 10% to 21.6% at different levels. Apply Daily reported that after the increase, the tuition fee for students at primary five level will increase by 21.6%. Parents will have to pay a total of $38,800 per year.
The Independent Schools Foundation Academy, a private school, will have a 5.2% increase in tuition fees. The tuition fee will be between $158,220 and $199,770.