Govt investigates class suspension at troubled school

The Education Bureau said on Monday that it is investigating the suspension of classes at a private school in Tsim Sha Tsui over financial problems.

Mount Kelly School Hong Kong has reportedly told parents in an email that it needs time to sort out its finances and carry out a restructure, but promised to resume classes in the new school year in August.

In a reply sent to RTHK, the school said it ran into financial difficulties following an exodus of students during the 2019 social unrest, and was gravely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It also cited other problems such as overdue tuition fees and confusing accounting records.

It said the school operator has commissioned lawyers and accountants to review and resolve the situation, adding that investors would inject new funds after the process is complete.

Mount Kelly added that it could only pay teachers in phases because its funds have been frozen as a result of the ongoing review. It pledged to pay the teachers in full as soon as possible.

For the time being, the school said students will continue to have online learning, adding that a parent-teacher meeting will be held on Tuesday.

“Please rest assured that Mount Kelly at this moment in time is working hard to ensure that the next academic year will operate successfully from August 2021. Plans for next year’s intake of students continues as well as the development of our first intake of IGCSE students and our accreditation,” the school said.

One parent who asked to remain anonymous told RTHK that the suspension came as a surprise and the situation was very confusing.

She said some parents were withdrawing their children from the school.

A spokesman for the Education Bureau, meanwhile, said officials had demanded an explanation from the school’s management, and reminded it to prioritise students’ interests and pay staff as soon as possible.

“Upon receiving complaints regarding the school’s operations, the Education Bureau is carrying out investigations and taking follow-up action. The bureau is taking the matter seriously and would impose punishments over any violations of rules in accordance with the established mechanism,” the spokesman said.

The school, which offers a British curriculum, is located inside a commercial building in Tsim Sha Tsui and charges an annual tuition fee of between HK$154,990 and HK$195,000.
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Last updated: 2021-06-07 HKT 15:20