A recent question was posed on a parent forum “How do we ensure that the recent protests do not affect the quality of a child’s education?” Overwhelmingly, parents all agreed that the recent unrest in Hong Kong has not affected any of the students in Hong Kong international schools and if anything, the students were being encouraged to express their views.
Why do local parents choose international schools for their children?
Increasingly, we find that more and more parents are considering their children away from Hong Kong local schools, where rote learning and examinations are more prevalent to Hong Kong international schools and boarding schools abroad. Why choose a Hong Kong international school? Parents choose them for a variety of reasons because they want their children to study abroad one day in the future, to give their children a global outlook on life or they have been through the local education system themselves and found it very difficult and want their children to have a more relaxed, international education, “a happy school” as some parents would call it.
Suggested entry points for international schools
The most common entry points for international schools is K1 (3 years old), Year 1 (5 years old), Year 7 (11 years old) and Year 9 (13 years old). The older years tend to be more popular with the local Hong Kong families as it ensures the children have a foundation of Chinese reading and writing, which is still taught in international schools albeit at a different level. That being said, Hong Kong parents should not be deterred from Hong Kong international schools because of the standard of Chinese (Mandarin). Some international schools offer strong bilingual programs, some teaching traditional Chinese characters and other simplified Chinese characters and many of these schools teach and instill Chinese values in their students.
How can parents choose the best schools for children?
The most common question that gets asked is “What is the best international school in Hong Kong?” Depending on who you are, this is entirely subjective and every parent will have a different answer. There are a range of factors parents consider when choosing a school including the name reputation, track record of where their graduates go to, facilities, curriculum, teaching staff, the principal just to name a few. Some parents find that their children may end up at three different schools purely because that one school that they had hoped for, was not right for one of their children.
For example, SEA assisted a student moved from a Beijing international school to a Hong Kong international school. We worked with the family to identify a list of schools which were convenient to them. We also looked at what was on offer for subjects, their reputation and where their graduates go onto. This student is currently studying at a prestigious international school and has aspirations to go to the United States for college.
Smart tips for parents who are considering international schools for children
We would always advise parents not to apply to any more than three schools and definitely not to apply for more than five schools because it is a waste of money for application fees and puts undue pressure on students particularly the younger ones! We also advise if possible, not to apply to every school from birth either, there are a few exceptions to this such as German Swiss International School and Kellett School.