Friday, November 22, 2013

Elite DSS Schools

Many elite schools in Hong Kong have turned into Direct Subsidy Schools (DSS). It gives the schools more freedom in admission, setting school fees, etc.  Some of these schools have taken the opportunity and additional resources to improve the campus, hire more and better teachers, provide more opportunities for their students for experiential learning or other innovative teaching methods.  They get even better.  

However, the increase in school fees discourage students from families with modest incomes from applying to these DSS schools.  Even though the schools may provide scholarships for such students, the reality is that fewer poor students enroll in them.  The result is increased inequality in society.  

I had this impression that many Christian (Protestant) schools have turned DSS, while fewer Catholic schools have done so.  So I did a study based on what I can gather on the Internet.  What I found was that 7 out of 11 (64%) of elite Christian schools have turned DSS, while only 3 out of 14 (21%) of elite Catholic schools have done so.  I might have missed a few, but I believe the data is representative. 

I have also heard that some Catholic schools felt that they have “what it takes” to become DSS, but they decided to remain aided schools (no school fees required) so that children with modest means can also attend. I applaud that idea. I had benefited from this noble quest myself when I was young. I would think that we Christians, particularly, should stand with the poor.  And not to contribute to make the world more unequal.  

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