The English Schools Foundation (ESF), Hong Kong’s largest provider of international education, has frozen its fees for the 2020-21 academic year.
The ESF runs five kindergartens, nine primary schools, five secondary schools, two Private Independent Schools and a school for children with SEN in Hong Kong. The group typically increases its fees an average of 4.5% every academic year.
Today (Tuesday, March 24), the ESF announced that in light of school closures and ongoing situation, all fees will remain at 2019-20 levels.
ESF's CEO Belinda Greer said:
"When we started this current school year, nobody could have imagined that we would have to face the kind of challenges that have come our way these past few months.
"We know that these pressures will not disappear overnight, especially the financial ones. Hong Kong, like the rest of the world, will have to regroup and rebuild once this crisis is over. ESF wants to play its part in supporting our students and their families, our staff and our city as this process of recovery begins."
It’s around this time of year when all international schools ask parents to indicate whether they will be returning for the following academic year, and when bills for Term 3 tuition are sent out. Schools look unlikely to reopen for Term 3, and some parents are asking for fee reductions.
From the schools’ point of view, however, they are still paying full salaries to teachers who are delivering daily online learning and attending staff meetings, and paying full rents to the government for campuses that cannot be accessed. The schools may be closed but learning has not stopped. And in the private education sector, that cannot be free.
Tuition fees in Years 1-3 at ESF’s primary schools will stay as HKD 115,800 per year, and Years 5 to 6 will remain HKD 98,500. This applies to Kowloon Junior, Beacon Hill, Sha Tin Junior, Bradbury, Peak School, Glenealy School, Clearwater Bay, Quarry Bay and Kennedy schools.
At secondary schools including Sha Tin College, South Island School, King George V, West Island School, and Island School, the fees for Years 7 to 11 will stay as HKD 133,800; families of students studying the IBDP in Years 12 and 13 will continue to pay HKD 140,700.