Thursday, 1 September 2016

Fact of the Day: 28,000 Cross-border Students

Students going through border control check points before going to school
Did you know there are 28,000 kids who live on the mainland and cross the border everyday to go to school in Hong Kong?

In the 2010-11 school year there were 9,899 of them, and 24,990 2014-15.

Twenty-eight thousand is a staggering number of them, but also illustrates the demand for good education by mainland parents.

Today was the first day of school, and for some of them -- the poor things -- had a four-hour commute.

Four-hour commutes to school are tiring for children
They were up at 6am to take the school bus to the border at Man Kam To by 7am, but it took over an hour to get through immigration. Then to make matters worse, the school bus drive in the Hong Kong side took a longer route to get to Tsuen Wan Trade Association Primary School in Tsing Yi.

Those 20 students didn't arrive to school until 10.15am.

Another 40 students coming from Huanggang border point arrived an hour late, but it was 45 minutes earlier than last year.

The school principal, Chow Kim-ho, says the school admitted 50 primary one cross-border pupils this year, which made up 62 percent of the total intake in this grade. He said it would take about two weeks for the buses to adjust and arrive to school on time.

Up until 2013, North District schools were inundated with an influx of cross-border students and it was that year when the Hong Kong government introduced a separate cross-border school catchment area, where 122 primary schools in eight districts, reserved 3,000 spots for students.

School buses shuttle students to and from border points
Previously cross-border students would compete with local ones for spaces.

But some cross-border children who live closer to the border may have to go further into Hong Kong to go to school in areas like Tsing Yi, Tung Chung or even Wong Tai Sin.

Pity these kids who have such long commutes, and then have to go home, have dinner and do homework and then do it all over again the next day.

Their parents really do think the education system is better in Hong Kong, while ironically local parents would rather their children be educated in international schools if they can afford it.

Guess it's all relative...

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