Significant Decrease in Early Pupil Withdrawals at Elite Secondary Schools in Hong Kong Following Peak of Emigration Wave

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The annual number of pupils withdrawing early from Hong Kong’s elite secondary schools has dropped significantly after peaking amid an emigration wave, the Post has found after reviewing reports from eight institutions.

Subsidised Secondary School Council chairwoman Lee Yi-ying on Monday said the numbers were noticeably softer in the last academic year, and vacancies had been mainly taken up by pupils arriving from mainland China after the border fully reopened.

“The pace of student withdrawals has obviously slowed down compared with last year and the year before,” said Lee, who is also a secondary school principal.

“The situation is no longer as severe. However, schools still experienced some student losses due to emigration.”

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In some cases, the exit rates were even lower than just before the emigration wave began around 2020-21, with one school reporting zero withdrawals.

The Post examined the annual reports of eight elite schools to compare the trend over the past four academic years.

Good Hope School, a prominent girls’ institution in Wong Tai Sin, recorded a 5.6 per cent exit rate in the last academic year, down from 13.1 per cent in 2020-21 and 10.8 per cent in 2021-22. Despite the drop, it still had the highest rate among schools releasing student withdrawal numbers.

The figures show the school lost fewer than 70 students in the previous school year, with more than 160 and 120 pupils quitting in each of the two prior years.

St Paul’s Co-educational College in the Mid-Levels had a 5.4 per cent withdrawal rate last year, down from an average of 9 per cent in the previous two.

Subsidised Secondary School Council chairwoman Lee Yi-ying says schools can plan more efficiently with fewer students leaving. Photo: Yik Yeung-man

Figures released by Maryknoll Convent School (Secondary Section), a prestigious girls’ school in Kowloon City, show its rate dropped to zero, against 5.1 per cent in the previous year. The school has been approached for comment.

The exit rates of the three schools last year were even lower than in 2019-20, before Britain began receiving applications for an immigration pathway leading to permanent residency for Hongkongers in January 2021.

The rate at another top girls’ institution, St Paul’s Secondary School in Happy Valley, also nearly halved by dropping from 6.2 per cent, or 53 students, in 2021-22 to 3.4 per cent, or 27 pupils, in the previous school year.

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Early withdrawals also slowed at Canossa College in Eastern district, Munsang College and Chan Sui Ki (La Salle) College in Kowloon City and Sing Yin Secondary School in Kwun Tong, but they remained higher than the years before Britain implemented its bespoke immigration policy.

Principal Lee said it was good to see fewer students leaving schools.

“With more stable student enrolment, schools can plan more effectively,” she said.

Three categories of pupils from the mainland had been filling school vacancies since the border reopened fully earlier this year, she said. They are children of workers brought in under talent schemes, those born locally to mainland parents and pupils stranded across the border who had returned.

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Following the implementation of the national security law in June 2020, several Western countries, including Britain, Canada and Australia, began offering new visa schemes to Hong Kong residents.

The law prohibits acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces.

The UK government previously disclosed that 182,600 applications for the British National (Overseas) passport visa scheme, which can lead to permanent residency, had been received since its introduction on January 31, 2021, until the end of June 2023.

Recent figures indicate that about 10,000 applications were received quarterly in the past year, a decrease from the first two quarters of 2021 when more than 30,000 Hong Kong residents applied for the pathway.

(The following story may or may not have been edited by NEUSCORP.COM and was generated automatically from a Syndicated Feed. NEUSCORP.COM also bears no responsibility or liability for the content.)

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