For lots of expats in Hong Kong, one of the most difficult endeavors during their life abroad is choosing an international primary or secondary school for their child – and actually getting a place at the school in question. At the moment, there are about 50 international schools in the region covering kindergarten, primary, and secondary education. This number seems disproportionately high compared to its expat population but the demand has long outpaced supply as attending a Hong Kong international school has become increasingly popular with the local population as well.
You might wonder if it actually has to be one of the expensive international schools, or if you can also send your child to one of the local schools in Hong Kong instead. We will tell you everything you need to know about the pros and cons of your child attending an international school. This article furthermore provides you with information on the different types of international education, and the degrees which your child can obtain. Last but not least, we would like to tell you about the procedure of enrolling your child in a particular school and how to best get one of those coveted places at a Hong Kong international school.
In addition to the local public school system, a respected private school system with many different international schools has long been established, and many expats decide to send their kids to one of these Hong Kong international schools. However, as mentioned above, these schools are becoming more and more popular with local Chinese families as well.
There are a couple of things you should consider when deciding whether to send your child to a Hong Kong international school or to a local institution. The duration of your stay is a major deciding factor. For a short stay, a Hong Kong international school would probably be the better option. However, going to a local school can help your child become accustomed to Hong Kong’s culture and society. This can be beneficial in the long run.
There are some important advantages of sending your child to a Hong Kong international school. Classes are usually smaller than in local schools, teachers use a more Western-style teaching method and curriculum, and the schools are generally not as competitive as local schools. On the downside, the biggest disadvantage of international schools is simply their cost. While public schools are free for all students, an international school might charge you anything from HKD 100,000 to HKD 180,000 or more in annual tuition fees, depending on the school and the grade your child attends.
If your kid is familiar with the Chinese language in Hong Kong and you want them to become fluent and write in hànzì (Chinese letters), you may find that the level of Mandarin and Cantonese taught in international schools is not adequate. Few of the international schools are actually bilingual, so a local public school might be the better choice in such a case. Keep in mind that you might have to take your child to a doctor in Hong Kong to receive the health documents necessary for admission.
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