27th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) Rosaryhill Secondary School, a well-known Hong Kong institution, is facing backlash over its plans to close in three years’ time. In response, the sponsoring body, Dominican Missions, has proposed transferring the school’s students to another aided institution starting from next September, according to sources familiar with the situation.
The suggestion was made by Dominican Missions during a transition committee meeting held last week. It is believed that the sponsoring body is referring to Yu Chun Keung Memorial College No 2, located in Hong Kong Island’s Southern district. This school has only been operating two Secondary One classes in recent years.
Under the proposed arrangement, the students from Rosaryhill Secondary School would be taught by the same staff members who move with them. Dominican Missions has informed parents that the larger student population at the new school would allow for a greater variety of elective subjects.
Previously, Dominican Missions announced that Rosaryhill Kindergarten and Rosaryhill Primary School would merge with equivalent schools under the Dalton Foundation in West Kowloon from the 2024-25 academic year. As part of this merger, Rosaryhill Secondary School was scheduled to transition from an aided school to a privately funded one starting from 2026-27.
However, most parents have objected to sending their children to the other aided school and have called for the preservation of Rosaryhill Secondary School’s original status until all current students graduate by 2028-29. Some parents have suggested that the Dalton Foundation should take over the secondary school to ensure a smooth transition for the students.
In response to the parents’ requests, the foundation stated that it lacks the expertise and experience to effectively manage an aided school and rejected the proposal. The foundation also cited concerns about the declining student numbers at Rosaryhill, which would impact the availability of teachers, funding, and the quality of education.
Over 1,000 former pupils of Rosaryhill Secondary School have signed a petition urging the sponsoring body to retain the school. They criticised Dominican Missions for not providing sufficient information to families before deciding to hand over stewardship of the campus to a private institution.
Defending the alternative proposal put forward last week, a spokeswoman for Dominican Missions highlighted the stability it would provide to students’ emotional well-being and their academic pursuits.
The Catholic diocese of Hong Kong, which oversees the proposed aided school, has not yet responded to enquiries regarding the potential transfer of Rosaryhill students.
Another option discussed last week was to stagger the transfer of Secondary Three pupils to the Southern district school over the next three academic years. School management has also been searching for at least three alternative institutions for students to choose from if they prefer not to join the school in the Southern district.
The Dalton Foundation has agreed to pay Dominican Missions for the use of the campus, which is situated on private land, but the exact amount has not been disclosed. Chu Kwok-keung, a lawmaker representing the education constituency, has relayed parents’ request to meet with the education secretary. However, the authorities have indicated that the meeting cannot be arranged at the moment as they are in discussions with the school sponsoring body.
The fate of Rosaryhill Secondary School’s students hangs in the balance as the sponsoring body and concerned parties seek a resolution that will ensure the best interests of the students and their education. The decision on the proposed transfer to another aided institution will have significant implications for the students’ academic journey and their future prospects.