Equal Opportunities Commission


Press Releases

Press Releases

EOC's Application for Judicial Review of the Secondary School Placement (SSPA) System Begins 14 May 2001 at the High Court of Hong Kong, SAR


The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) is seeking a declaration from the High Court that the Director of Education's decision to maintain gender scaling, separate banding by sex, and gender quota in co-educational schools is unlawful under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO).

"We launched a Formal Investigation into the SSPA in 1998 after receiving complaints from parents that their children were allocated to a lower band than their classmates who did not do as well as they did in school," said Ms. Anna Wu, Chairperson of the EOC. "The Report was issued in August 1999 and in April 2000, the Education Department informed us that they did not want to remove the discriminatory elements."

Ms. Wu explained that, "Since the system impacts over 80,000 primary students every year, the EOC decided to apply for leave for Judicial Review and have the Court issue an order to stop the discriminatory practice,"

The Report issued by the EOC in August 2000 had found the following elements within the SSPA unlawful as they discriminate on the basis of sex and result in individual boys and girls receiving less favourable treatment purely on the basis of sex:

1. Scaling:

Giving single sex schools a school curve and giving co-educational schools gender curves to derive the SSPA scaled score may disadvantage an individual boy or girl within the co-educational school.

2. Processing boys and girls separately for banding purposes:

Processing boys and girls separately into different bands constitutes sex bias since individual boys and girls receive less favourable treatment as a result of the fact that the band cutting scores in the different school districts are different for boys and girls within each band.

3. Allocation in accordance with fixed numbers of boys and girls in each co-educational school:

This results in a boy or girl being refused his or her choice of school on the basis of sex and not for academic reasons; the reason being that the school has no place for the boy or girl as all remaining places are designated for children of another sex.

The EOC recommended that the Government, the Education Commission and the Director of Education should review the SSPA and remove the discriminatory elements to ensure that boys and girls are placed into secondary schools in a manner that does not discriminate against either sex.

Enquiry: EOC Hotline 25118211