Decline in School-Aged Children in Hong Kong Raises Educators’ Concerns

Number of HK children in UK is increaseing
By Duff Li
Duff Li
Duff Li
July 30, 2022 Updated: July 30, 2022

The current education system in Hong Kong is suffering a strong impact due to the big wave of emigration, which has led to a sharp decrease in the population of school-aged children.

On July 21, the Hong Kong Secondary School Council and the 18 District Secondary School Principals Association jointly wrote a letter to the Secretary for Education, Choi Yuk-lin, saying that the current “education situation is dire” and worrying that the decline in the number of school children might bring great turmoil to the education sector.

They believe that the government should take practical action without delay.

HK Children in UK Increasing

According to a survey of School Placement for Children from Outside the UK, recently released by the British government for the 2021-22 school year, there were 10,500 school applications from Hong Kong. Some 9,700 children have been successfully placed, of which 6,800 were primary school placements, and the other 2,900 were secondary school placements. This proportion of applications reflects the general decline of school children in Hong Kong.

The student statistics from the Education Bureau indicate the number of students in Hong Kong decreased by 25,000 as of September 2021.

Concerns from Education Sectors

Choi Yuk-lin claimed that the student population declined mainly due to the low fertility rate, the epidemic’s impact on the new arrivals program, and family emigration. Furthermore, emigration only reflects family considerations and is “not necessarily a result of the poor education system in Hong Kong.”

Members of the Hong Kong Secondary School Council and the 18 District Secondary School Principals Associations, which include 26 secondary school principals associations and organizations, stated that due to social unrest and the raging epidemic, students’ learning progress, physical and mental health have all been seriously affected.

Many surveys and studies have shown that secondary school students are highly stressed and show signs of anxiety and depression. They admitted that the “mental health of young people has already sounded the alarm, and it is necessary to implement specific policies to ease the situation.”

The collaborative group believes that this sudden decline in the population of school children can lead to turmoil and affect the stability of Hong Kong’s education development, ultimately affecting students studying in Hong Kong.

They suggest that apart from repurposing existing schools, opening new secondary schools should also be suspended.

They describe that “the current education situation is dire,” so the government must take immediate action. It is hoped that the government can create favorable conditions for learning, teaching, and curriculum development so that the education system can keep pace with social development.

Duff Li