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Saturday, Mar 02, 2024

School offers trips near North Pole for a cool $180k

School offers trips near North Pole for a cool $180k

Private school Pui Ching Primary is holding a HK$180,000 study tour in summer in which each family, including one student and one of his parents, will travel to Svalbard, an island group midway between the northern coast of Norway and the North Pole.
Five primary five or six pupils with good physical health can join the school's costly study tour, led by science experts, with a parent to conduct scientific investigation at the North Pole, says a notice on WhatsApp.

It is understood the two-week program originally cost HK$270,000 - HK$150,000 per adult and HK$120,000 per student before receiving alumni subsidies. The student fee goes down to HK$30,000 after the school's subsidies.

The high price led to feverish discussions online as the fee, HK$180,000, despite taking the subsidy into account, was too costly, some netizens said, as a similar tour offered by travel agencies cost about HK$90,000 per person.

Some netizens compared the price to the initial payment of buying a flat, while some regarded it as an acceptable price compared to offerings from travel agencies.

"It might be the most precious family time," was one comment.

But issues regarding the fees, safety and details of the tour remained unknown.

On The Standard's inquiries, the school said it would not comment.

The five primary students from the private school in Ho Man Tin will join 45 secondary students from Pui Ching Middle School and Pui Ching Middle School (Macau).

The tour was co-organized by the Polar Research Institute of Hong Kong and will bring the selected students to the North Pole from late July to early August.

Among popular study tour destinations such as Europe and America, Pui Ching is the first in Hong Kong to launch a study tour to the North Pole. Its launch of the program dates back to 2018 and 2020, with each secondary student paying HK$38,000 and HK$60,000 after subsidies, with no parental accompaniment.

The 12-day study tour in 2018 brought 23 students and teachers to the North Pole. They visited Norway and Svalbard, staying seven days on a research vessel.

This is the first time quotas for primary students are set with parental engagement.

The former principal of Pui Ching middle school, Tam Yat Yuk, who initiated the program in 2018, hoped to encourage students to do scientific investigations.

He said the tour saw positive responses among teachers and received many donations from alumni.

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