Panel Discussion on Opening Schools in Hong Kong in the Time of COVID
- Mrs Belinda Greer, Prof. Hyuncheol Bryant Kim, Prof. Sujata Visaria
- 2021-04-16 ~ 2021-04-16
- 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Hong Kong’s success with the COVID-19 pandemic has gone hand-in-hand with strict measures, including early and repeated school closure. What is the rationale for closing schools, and what are arguments for opening them, and possibly keeping them open even if a new wave hits?
The Center for Economic Policy’s online discussion on April 16, titled “Opening Schools in Hong Kong in the Time of COVID” featured Mrs Belinda Greer, CEO of the English Schools Foundation and Professor Hyuncheol Bryant Kim, Associate Professor of Economics at HKUST. Associate Director Professor Sujata Visaria moderated the conversation.
Professor Kim explained that policy decisions should consider the behavioural response: children who cannot go to school can still contribute to the spread by socialising; with appropriate safety protocols, keeping schools open might be the best choice. Mrs Greer highlighted that education is a social activity, and that despite the ESF’s successes with online schooling, parents, teaching staff and management all agreed that bringing students back into school was top priority. She provided insights into their efforts to create a safe in-person learning environment. Professor Kim also underscored the importance of in-person schooling for educational achievement, and how prolonged school closure could exacerbate underlying societal inequalities.