Monday, 15 October 2012

Abandoned school #1, Hong Kong

An abandoned village school.
This is the first abandoned school I have ever been to. We found this school by chance after we left the abandoned resort, on the way to a beach. But it was dark already so we decided to return the next day.

We came back the next morning. This school is located in between two villages, which was a small- scaled school, aiming at serving the children from the two villages. This school provided 45 places but due to lack of students, which closed down in 2000s.

Village schools are very different from regular schools in the city.There was a very close relationship between pupils and teachers, the schools and the neighbourhoods as well. For example, in the 60s, during a Christmas, a school cooperated with a military camp nearby. The British army dressed as Santa Claus and sent soft drinks and ice cream as Christmas gifts from the sky wth helicopter! One could imagine that how happy the pupils were.

Village schools had their important functions in society. They were a bridge between villages and cities. Pupils would go to secondary schools in the city once they finished primary education in the village. It gave them a chance to work and move to city. There were more than 50 village schools at its peak time. There are still a few active village schools in Hong Kong nowadays.

During the Qing Dynasty, New Territories were being developed. The villagers built their own school for only the children in their own village. Some villagers who moved to overseas would donate money for the running of the schools. In that time, if the family could afford, girls could go to school, too.

During the Japanese occupation, classes in some village schools suspended and some schools conducted classes in Jpanaese. In early times, anyone who had studied or taken exams could be teachers. After WWII, due to the civil war in China, many people moved to Hong Kong. During that time, it was baby boom as well. Hence, the government encouraged the villagers to build their own schools. A village could have its own school or a few villages joined together to build one school. Some schools required to pay fee; some were free.

Village schools were the product of time. They solved the education problem in 50s and 60s. However, village schools became unpopular in 80s. New Territories were well developed with good infrastructure and people had misunderstanding on village schools. They had the impression that facilities of village schools were not up to standard, too old or outdated. Parents put their children to regular schools. Also, the concerning education department would not send children to village schools unless parents chose to. All these accelerated the disappearance of village schools.
This scale of abandoned school is a "side-product" of abandoned villages.In 80s and 90s , low birth rate led to scarce population in the villages. Some villages are located in restricted area, i.e. close to the border with Mainland China, it is very inconvenient to go to the city. Many young people did not want to stay in villages and moved out to work in the city. Moving out of young people and aging population led to decrease in population in villages, leaving the villages abandoned in the end.

A notice board.

A line from a poem, which means "We will miss each other if we are separated. We are far away from each other but we can look at the same moon.'

School office.


Door of a classroom.

Toilet on the slope!

1 comment:

  1. Good sharing !!!
    I am going to use this for my best ghost writers in Hong Kong
    Thank you for nice sharing...