Principal denies inflating student numbers to keep govt funding

The principal of a primary school in Tuen Mun is denying she inflated the number of students in the school in order to ensure continued government funding.

Chan Cheung-ping, principal of government-subsidized Hing Tak School, told a press conference on Tuesday that she is nothing but a victim, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The denial came after the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union accused the school of having 29 “phantom students” in a letter to the Education Bureau.

A source said the students were all living in the mainland while enrolled at the school for the 2014-2016 academic years, Apple Daily reported.

The union said Hing Tak inflated the number of students by registering non-existent ones to keep its subsidy from being cut by up to HK$600,000 for each reduced class.

The police confirmed that it received a report on the case on June 23 and listed it as “use a false instrument”. The District Crime Squad in Tuen Mun District is investigating the incident. No one has been arrested.

Education Secretary Kevin Yeung said his bureau had issued warnings to the school after it detected some anomalies. The bureau also named eight people to the school’s management board.

After a meeting on Tuesday afternoon, the board decided to cut the number of classes in its third grade to six from seven.

The board is set to discuss whether to allow Chan to keep her post in a meeting scheduled for Aug.18.

Chan said she hopes to be given a chance to stay after serving the school for six years.

The school had only about one to two classes in each grade in 2011 when Chan assumed the post, but it had 24 classes in the past academic year, according to Apple Daily. 

Principals of primary schools with 24 or more classes can earn HK$10,000 more in monthly pay.

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