Confirmed victory

Save IMS Tin Hau School from closure. 拯救蒙特梭利國際學校天后分校,不要學校停辦。

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Petition Objective:

The International Montessori School (IMS) Tin Hau campus lease will expire in July 2014. Despite continued efforts, the school has not been able to secure a lease renewal.  With just a few months to go and a grave shortage of international school places in Hong Kong, the education and livelihood of the 350 young students of IMS Tin Hau are in serious jeopardy.

 

We represent the children, parents and staff of IMS, as well as all Hong Kong parents seeking diversity and choice of education for their children, the entrepreneurs and corporations looking for international school places for their executives’ families, and non-Chinese Hong Kong children who need an alternative to learn Chinese as a second language.

 

We call on the Hong Kong SAR Government and the Secretary for Education to follow-up on the promises (1) that have been repeatedly made to the Hong Kong and IMS community, and immediately step in to help IMS secure a renewal of the lease to the Government site it currently occupies in Tin Hau. The children must be allowed to continue their schooling without disruption until a long-term solution is found.

 

Background of IMS Tin Hau Lease:

The Hong Kong Government is ultimately responsible as IMS Tin Hau is located on government land that has been earmarked for education purposes.  A third party was given a long term lease on the Tin Hau site to run a school, which was not successful and has since been closed.  In 2010, the Government invited IMS to move into the Tin Hau site, and has repeatedly promised the school community that IMS could safely remain on the site until a long-term solution is found(1). To even consider allowing a third party to kick out and force the closure of a quality school and thriving school community is not only unreasonable, but detrimental to the reputation and competitiveness of Hong Kong as a world city.

 

IMS School Background:

IMS is a successful homegrown non-profit school founded in 2002, which plays a critical and strategic role in Hong Kong’s education landscape.  As the only accredited bi-lingual Montessori Primary School in Hong Kong, IMS provides choice and diversity of education to the community. Over 2,500 Hong Kong children from 17 Montessori kindergartens have a chance to continue with a quality Montessori education in IMS’ Primary Program.  Without the Tin Hau school campus, and with no other viable school facility, the IMS Tin Hau school community will have no choice but to disband, while thousands of parents seeking places for quality Montessori education for their children will be disappointed.

 

Demand for Montessori education is strong. In 2013, IMS was awarded a new campus in Stanley to provide 700 new school places in a separate catchment area, to help alleviate the current shortage of Primary School places in HongKong.  In awarding the Stanley site, the Government specifically required IMS to create new school places, and not relocate the IMS Tin Hau Campus to Stanley, as it would not result in the creation of the required new school places.

 

 (1)    31st October 2012, Eddie Ng Hak-Kim, press release of Legislative Council proceedings: “As regards the International Montessori School (IMS), it is operating at the premises of a closed down school located on private land owned by the Hong Kong Construction Association (HKCA). A few months ago, a non-governmental organization (NGO) indicated interest in utilizing this site for the purpose of youth hostel development. Recently, the Home Affairs Bureau has clearly informed the NGO that insofar the subject site will continue to be deployed as a school, it will not support any NGO in developing youth hostel at the site.

 

(LegCo Hansard Official Record of Proceedings: http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr12-13/english/counmtg/hansard/cm1031-translate-e.pdf)

  

5th November 2012, Eddie Ng Hak-Kim, press release of transcript of media session remarks: “We have no intention to change, to suggest or to support the change of the purpose of that particular piece of land (IMS Tin Hau). That means, I understand that the NGO (HKFYG) and the Institute (HKCA) also realise this situation. Therefore, based on my understanding, I actually do not see the threat of that particular lease for that particular school.”

 

http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201211/05/P201211050499.htm

 

請願目的:

蒙特梭利國際學校天后分校的租約將於2014年7月屆滿。儘管經過不斷爭取,學校仍未能獲延續租約。諷刺的是,雖然香港的國際學校學位仍然短缺,學校的350年青學生卻因為租約只餘短短數月,令他們的教育及生活受到嚴重威脅。

 

我們代表學校社群的學生、家長、教員及管理層,以及全港為子女尋覓多元教育選擇的家長。我們亦代表為員工子女尋求國際學校學位的企業和機構,以及需要學習中文為第二語言的非華裔香港學童。

 

我們要求香港特區政府及教育局局長兌現已多次向香港人及學校社群作出的承諾 (1)。政府應該立即行動,協助學校取得長期租約,從而可以在天后現址的政府土地繼續營運。學童必須獲得保障,讓他們在校址獲得長遠解決方案前,仍然可以有序地繼續學習。

 

蒙特梭利國際學校天后分校租約問題的背景:

香港政府將蒙特梭利國際學校天后分校現址劃作教育用途,因此該地負有最終責任。政府以長期租約方式將該地交予非政府團體營運學校,但學校最終未能成功續辦。在2010年,政府邀請蒙特梭利國際學校遷入該址,並多次向學校社群承諾,在學校可以長遠解決校址問題前,它可以在原址繼續營運(1).。如果政府容許承租土地的團體將一所優質、具朝氣的學校踢走,這不單並不合理,亦會大大打擊香港作為國際城市的聲譽及競爭力。

 

蒙特梭利國際學校的背景:

蒙特梭利國際學校是一所本地創立的非牟利學校,成立於2002年。學校在香港教育領域扮演一個關鍵的的策略性角色。由於學校是香港唯一獲認證的雙語制蒙特梭利小學,它為社會提供了一個多元化的教育選擇。學校為全港17所蒙特梭利幼稚園超過2,500名香港學童提供機會,接受優質的蒙特梭利式小學教育課程。若學校失去天后校園,又無法覓得其他合適校舍,則學校社群無可避免地需要解散,而數以千計為子女尋求蒙特梭利教育的家長亦會大失所望。

 

現時香港對蒙特梭利式教育的需求很大。蒙特梭利國際學校在2013年獲批新校舍,在另一學區提供700個新學位,以助紓緩現時香港缺乏國際學校小學學位的情況。政府在批出校舍時,特別要求蒙特梭利國際學校增設學位,而非把天后分校遷至赤柱,否則便不能創造所需的新學位。

 

(1) 教育局局長吳克儉於2012年10月31日在立法會對議員質詢時回應說:「至於蒙特梭利國際學校,該校現正租用香港建造商會在其私人土地上一所已停辦的學校作校舍。數月前有非政府機構表示有意在該校現址興建青年宿舍,但民政事務局最近已向有關非政府機構表明,在該土地繼續作為學校用途的大前提下,民政事務局暫不會與非政府機構在該處發展青年宿舍。

(立法會會議過程正式紀錄:http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr12-13/chinese/counmtg/hansard/cm1031-translate-c.pdf)

 

教育局局長吳克儉於2012年11月5日會見傳媒談話時說(以下為翻譯):「我們無意改變,也没建議或支持改變該地 (蒙特梭利國際學校天后分校所在地) 的土地用途。即是說,我了解該非政府組織 (即香港青年協會) 及機構 (即香港建造商會) 亦明白這情況。因此根據我的理解,我實在看不到該學校會受到有關租約威脅。

(政府新聞公報(英文原文部分):

http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201211/05/P201211050499.htm)



Today: Save IMS Tin Hau School Concern Group 拯救蒙特梭利國際學校(IMS)天后分校關注組 is counting on you

Save IMS Tin Hau School Concern Group 拯救蒙特梭利國際學校(IMS)天后分校關注組 needs your help with “Mr. Eddie NG Hak-Kim, Secretary for Education, The Hong Kong SAR Government 香港特別行政區政府教育局局長吳克儉先生: Save IMS Tin Hau School from closure. 拯救蒙特梭利國際學校天后分校,不要學校停辦。”. Join Save IMS Tin Hau School Concern Group 拯救蒙特梭利國際學校(IMS)天后分校關注組 and 4,402 supporters today.