Why alumni priority should stay

A school does not just prepare students in academic subjects, it also develops their character and inculcates values.

So it is natural for parents to want to send their children to their former schools, so that the children can grow up with the same values that their parents identify with and believe in.

A school is also not just a building. It has traditions and people who believe in its ethos.

If the alumni and religious affiliation priority phases for Primary 1 admission are removed, I wonder how the schools' traditions and cultures can remain intact, especially since principals and teachers are changed so often nowadays.

The Education Ministry may want to examine the real reason for the call to review these priority phases.

If parents want their children to get into a school because it is near their homes, and not because of its brand or reputation, then the ministry should consider if there are enough schools or school places within the area.

Perhaps the shortages are localised. Some younger estates have more schoolchildren and need more schools or places in existing ones.

If proximity is such an important factor, then the ministry might as well remove all priority phases, including Phase 1 for children with siblings in the school, and let every child register by balloting.

It would be most fair, and every child would start on an equal footing.

But I hope this does not happen. It would be sad to lose the rich traditions and cultures of certain schools, and deprive parents of the chance to send their children to their former schools.

The ministry should continue to focus on helping schools build their own identities and niche areas, and leave it to parents to choose one that they think would be best for their children.

As the ministry says: Every school is a good school. This should be the long-term solution.

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