Equal Opportunities Commission


Press Releases

Press Releases

EOC Welcomes High Court Ruling Prohibiting Sex Discrimination in the Secondary School Places Allocation System


The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) welcomes the High Court's declaration that the Secondary School Places Allocation System (SSPA) is unlawful.

"The High Court ruling offers clarity, and will create certainty for all parties. Good governance and accountability now require the Government and the Education Department to act quickly, to save further costs and to minimize the confusion for students, parents, and schools. It is a matter of enormous public importance for the Government and the Education Department to rectify the system as a basic educational concern. Our students are entitled to and deserve an education system that is open, fair, and non-discriminatory," said Ms. Anna WU, Chairperson of the EOC.

"There was an important principle at stake here," continued Ms. WU, "and the most efficient way of dealing with this type of systemic discrimination that affects a large number in the community was to seek judicial review. There was a need to ensure that the problem was dealt with quickly, without waiting to bring countless court cases on behalf of individual students who had been unlawfully discriminated against."

Since 1978, gender scaling, separate queues in banding for boys and girls, and fixed gender quotas in co-educational schools remain as criteria for allocating students to secondary schools. In its Formal Investigation Report issued in 1999, the EOC advised that these elements were discriminatory as individual boys and girls received less favourable treatment purely on the basis of sex.

The Formal Investigation into the SSPA was conducted in 1998, following complaints by parents whose children were allocated to a lower band than their classmates of the opposite sex with lower academic achievements. To date, the EOC has received a total of 15 formal complaints. It is anticipated that unless the system is changed, more complaints will be lodged by parents against the Education Department and the individual schools concerned.

Enquiry: EOC Hotline       25118211