The last day of primary education ended on a high note for most of the Primary Six pupils at Baptist Rainbow Primary School in Wong Tai Sin with close to nine out of 10 students gaining admission to the secondary school of their choice.
That is about 10 per cent higher than the city-wide figure of 80 per cent of pupils getting into their first choice for Form One allocation. This figure is 2 percentage points higher than the previous year, while the number of students entering Secondary One slipped about 1,000 to 45,544, according to the Education Bureau.
Tears of joy and scramble for places as Hong Kong secondary school allocations handed out
As their teacher handed out the result slips of the secondary school allocation to the Primary Six pupils, some cheered, while others were surprised to get into their dream secondary school. The icing on the cake for some was that they would be schoolmates again, with nine students heading to one school and six to another.
Wong Tsz-hin sits with his parents after collecting his Secondary school allocation. Photo: Nora Tam
While there were a few students visibly disappointed with the results, their friends went to console them and quickly got them to join their other classmates in sharing their last moments together as a class.
“I can go for a buffet meal now,” Wong Tsz-hin, one of the students who managed to get his first choice, exclaimed as his parents promised the treat if he was allocated his preferred school.
His parents were also thrilled with the outcome, with his father saying he had packed to go “knock on the door of other schools”. This is a common practice for students who cannot get into their preferred school.
While it was a happy ending for Wong, his mother noted that the family had to take a risk in getting him transferred from a more prestigious school in Primary Six.
She said the learning style at his old school was more rigid and the syllabus very difficult, with some aspects being closer to secondary school standards. These, she felt, affected her son’s self-esteem.
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After transferring to Baptist Rainbow Primary School, his grades improved and he even got the best progress award for his level.
“I would have ended up in a band 3 school [if I stayed in my previous primary school],” Wong said.
So the family was happy that the risk paid off, with Wong now heading to a band 2 school.
Band 3 schools are at the lowest level in Hong Kong’s education system.
Some worried looks on the faces of pupils at Baptist Rainbow Primary School. Photo: Nora Tam
Those who failed to get into their first choice quickly began applying for limited numbers of places in what they considered to be better secondary schools.
A Primary Six student who wished to remain anonymous was accompanied by her parents to apply for a place at the CCC Heep Woh College, a band 1 school in Tsz Wan Shan.
Her mother said that the student got her fifth choice, which was a band 2 school, but her grades tended to be at band 1 level.
“I don’t know how many schools I will apply for; this is the third so far,” the student said.
Yip Wai-ming, principal of St Louis School in Sai Ying Pun, said around 50 plus students had applied to move to his school in the first couple of hours on Tuesday. He added that there were around 70 to 80 students applying over two days last year and the school usually had around two to three places for transfer each year.