ESF increases fees by HK$290?

  1. #1

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    Jun 2004
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    ESF increases fees by HK$290?

    My husband's just told me that ESF will increase their monthly school fees by HK$290.

    This is awful.They've just introduced the levy and now they are squeezing more cash out of us?

    How much more do we need to pay to get a decent education for our kids? :-(


  2. #2

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    I suppose their justification is, that the levy will not go into effect for another school year, and that the levy is returnable.

    (Don't get me wrong, I am not thrilled about this either!)


  3. #3

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    Not thrilled, but the $290 odd is a lot more acceptable than the levy.

    At some point the parents have to start asking .. is the money that we spend, returned to us as fairly in the form of a good education for our kids.

    By the way, does anyone know how one could go about getting a copy of their audited results? I'd really like to know where they spend the money they collect from the various sources.... PTA drives, student fees, govt subvention.

    AND, is there ANYTHING that the parents can do? The three or four token reps in the board of governers are ineffective because they simply do not have the desire to fight the system... or have been marginalized ...

    Last edited by shri; 02-03-2010 at 04:54 PM.

  4. #4

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    Hi Shri
    Anything the PTA makes goes directly back to it's individual school and has nothing to do with ESF Head Office. (ie: monies raised by Kennedy PTA go directly towards projects & improvements at Kennedy School).

    At every PTA AGM, we state how we spent/donated our money over the past year.

    It's challenging. ESF Head office has its quirks, yet I firmly believe the ESF teachers are excellent and go the extra distance for their students.


  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by MayC
    My husband's just told me that ESF will increase their monthly school fees by HK$290.

    This is awful.They've just introduced the levy and now they are squeezing more cash out of us?

    How much more do we need to pay to get a decent education for our kids? :-(
    Just curious, but why do you think that quality, private, international education should also be cheap?
    I think the ESF is competing with the international schools, not the local schools, and the ESF is going to try to reach that level which will require more money.
    And, since they are not competing with the local schools, they can nudge their costs up to just under the international schools and still be the less-expensive alternative.
    Finally, from what I have seen, the ESF does not have the places to accomodate demand and this would be one way to cut the demand. If they use the money to open more places, the demand cut along with the new supply might solve the issue.

  6. #6

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    dimsum mum - As I said, I have a problem with transparency within the ESF system (and I'm sure the other systems are the same .. but then they don't get govt handouts).

    I'd really really like to get a look at their books to see where the money goes.

    How much is spent on annual recruitment junkets? Are supplies / books etc being ordered on fairly tendered pricing across all schools?

    >> why do you think that quality, private, international education should also be cheap

    Because, Sleuth, it goes a long way in bringing diversity into a society. The govt wants to set this place up as an international hub for services and commerce - this will need all sorts of people and not everyone is a well paid expat with allowances.

    And my issue is again, are we sure the money is being used optimally?

    >> firmly believe the ESF teachers are excellent and go the extra distance for their students.

    Just like it would not be fair for me to say "they're all bad", it is also not fair to the parents to say "they're all excellent". I'd personally like to see a 360 review of the teachers being done and then base their excellence on metrics.

    I googled around for a bit looking for the whole Jal Shroff episode and found this bit... Unfortunately, I cannot find much evidence posted online, newsreports or strong votes of confidence which say that the ESF has cleaned its act up and its finances are being managed a wee bit better than Lehman brothers.

    Hong Kongs major provider of english-style education has been plunged into turmoil by a series of crises that have left it leaderless and the subject of blistering attacks by its former chief executive as well as by the government. The Education and Manpower Bureau has demanded an answer to allegations that the management of the English Schools Foundation (ESF) is dysfunctional and its finances poorly controlled.

    This follows the leaking of a letter in late February by former chief executive Jonathan Harris, previously director of education for Cornwall. In his letter, Harris says that if the ESF were inspected by Ofsted (Britains Office of Standards in Education), it would be classified as an institution with "serious weaknesses" or, at best, under-achieving. He called for chairman Jal Shroff to recognise the need for change and accused senior managers of wasting money on long lunches and afternoon drinking sessions.

    Arthur Li, secretary for education and manpower, echoes Harriss call for an independent audit of the ESF and says he would come down on it "like a ton of bricks" if it was found to be wasting public money. The government subsidises about a third of ESF costs.

    Harris letter to Shroff was leaked anonymously. Harris denies he knows the source of the leak and declines to comment because of a confidentiality agreement. ESF, which runs 19 schools teaching 12,000 students has submitted its response to both the government and to parents and teachers, refuting most of Harris claims.

    The crisis came a week after a bitter battle over the appointment of Harris successor. A selection committee chose Mike Haynes, a parent and member of its executive who works in the insurance industry, prompting opposition from parents and staff on the grounds that he is not an educator.

    Comments Christine Houston, the parent who leads the campaign against Haynes: "We had an absolute sense of clarity that the process has been corrupted. All we are asking is that it be started again." Haynes was offered the job ahead of an assistant director of education for New South Wales and a deputy minister of education for Manitoba in Canada.

    But Shroff has failed to secure enough votes to endorse the appointment, sparking his resignation, along with that of the vice-chairman and treasurer.
    (By the way... my son goes to ESF .. and does get a pretty good education. However, we're always left wondering when things will fall apart and what will go wrong next...)

  7. #7

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    If they are spending all the money on long lunches and drinking binges, that would be a different, although unsurprising, issue.
    Before they go around increasing fees, they need to know what they are spending all the current fees on.
    But asking for quality, international, private education to also be cheap is asking too much. Nobody moves here from abroad for the schools. And the ESF seems to be populated mostly by locals, so I am not sure where the diversity comes in.