A private school in Hong Kong is inviting applications for a summer study tour that will set parents back by HK$180,000. Primary students from Pui Ching Middle School, each one accompanied by a parent, will go to Svalbard on a 12-day trip between late July and early August this year, according to The Standard.
The original costs for the trip, which is being organised by the Polar Research Institute of Hong Kong, were HK$120,000 per student and HK$270,000-HK$150,000 per adult. However, the final cost for each student came down to HK$30,000 after alumni subsidies, while expenses for each accompanying parent are HK$150,000.
The high cost of the tour sparked a debate online, as some netizens remarked that a similar one offered by travel agencies cost only HK$90,000 per person. However, Pui Ching Middle School supervisor Ho Kin-chung said that 70% of the fees will go towards renting an ice-breaker to take students, their parents and alumni to collect samples and conduct research.
Previously, the Ho Man Tin school sent students on two study trips to the North Pole. The first tour in 2018 cost HK$38,000, while the second in 2020 cost HK$60,000 per student after subsidies. However, this year will be the first time that parents will go along on the trip.
Ho said that 12 students had applied for the tour, and will undergo a selection process that involves writing a research proposal. Parents also have to show that they will be able to conduct research. Five primary students will be selected, and will be joined by 45 secondary school students from Macau’s Pui Ching Middle School and Pui Ching Middle School on the trip.
School trips to Europe and North America are popular among Hong Kong schools, and Mainland visits are now a mandatory requirement of a new core subject covering citizenship and social development. The first batch of Hong Kong secondary school students left on their two-day trip to Guangzhou and Shenzhen on Monday.
International travel from Hong Kong is expected to rebound now that there are no Covid-19 restrictions on passengers returning to the city. Within the past six months, the SAR has abolished hotel quarantine, scrapped mandatory isolation for Covid-positive patients, and removed all testing requirements for Hong Kong-bound travellers.
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