IX. Education of children

Article 28 of the Convention recognises the right of the child to education. Primary education must be compulsory and available to all free of charge. State Parties are required to encourage the development of different forms of secondary education, make education and educational information available to all children, and take measures to encourage regular attendance at school. According to Article 29 of the Convention education of the child should be directed towards developing the child’s personality, talents and physical abilities to their fullest potential. Education should develop respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the principles in the United Nations Charter. It should also develop respect for parents, cultural identity, language and nationality and for civilisations other than that in which the child is living. The purpose is to prepare the child “for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin.” It should also develop respect for the natural environment.

Hong Kong provides for nine years free and compulsory primary and junior secondary education in its public sector schools. From the 2008/09 school year, the Government has extended free education in public sector schools from nine years to 12 years. In addition full subvention is provided for full-time courses run by the Vocational Training Council.

Under section 74 of the Education Ordinance , Cap. 279 , where it appears to the Permanent Secretary for Education that a child is not attending primary school or secondary school without reasonable excuse, the child’s parent may be served with an attendance order requiring that the child regularly attend the primary or secondary school specified in the attendance order. Under section 78 of the Ordinance a parent who fails to comply with an attendance order without reasonable excuse is liable to a fine at level 3 of Schedule 8 of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance (currently $10,000) and to imprisonment for three months.