Getting your child into the 'right' school in Hong Kong is serious business. We'll introduce you to some of the dilemmas and decisions that must be made here.

Surviving the local school system

I have been lurking on this site for several years and have benefited immensely from the thoughtful and amusing articles by Mr. Tall and Mr. Balding, and the helpful comments from readers, especially those on choosing a school system and negotiating the application process. Certainly for our family, reading batgung had a significant influence on our decision to send our children to school in the local system. Read more »

Teaching kids about race

There’s a remarkable article on kids and race in a recent issue of Newsweek magazine (yes, Newsweek actually still exists). The article’s authors, the novelist Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, have written a book on raising kids they’ve cutely titled NurtureShock. The article is an excerpt. Read more »


Is it on the list of things you look for in a primary school? And how will you know if it's really there, when every school brochure lists 'nurturing your child's creativity' as one of their selling points?

But we're ahead of ourselves - what do we mean by 'creativity'? Read more »

School open days: what to look for

Most primary schools will have at least one open-day, for parents to visit and take a look around. Here are some suggestions on how to get the most out of the visit. Read more »


Mr Tall has written a very thorough series of articles about applying for a local Hong Kong Primary School for your child.  They are written with the non-Hong-Kong-native parent in mind, but they should be helpful to any parent that's starting to get ready for this. Read more »

Education as salvation, part II

In an article I wrote some time ago, I described a quest for ‘salvation’ pursued by means of receiving the best possible education. I also noted the disillusionment some of these seekers experience once they’ve summited their educational Everests.

My article presupposed that this ‘education as salvation’ theme is characteristic of Confucian cultures such as Hong Kong. But of course nothing in our world is so simple. A few weeks ago I came across another article that lays out the western equivalent. Titled 'The Disadvantages of an Elite Education', it's from the American Scholar, and it's by William Deresiewicz, a Yale English professor who finds it difficult to talk to his plumber: Read more »

School choice: the final chapter

To wrap up a very long series on primary school applications in Hong Kong, I’d like to do a couple of things.

First, I’ll add a postscript to the story of the Tall family’s own school search. I’d then like to step back and add a couple of observations about the whole experience in the context of school choice.  Read more »

Keeping the parents busy

To add to the list of 'things our parents never had to do', each morning we must take our 4-year old daughter's temperature, and write it in a small book provided by her kindergarten. If the temperature is over 99F children should stay at home, thereby preventing any future bird-flu epidemic. Read more »

Primary schools interviews: tips and techniques

Hello again, happy parents! In this installment of my series on applying to primary schools in Hong Kong I'll pass along some tips parents might find helpful in getting their children prepared for the actual interviews their children will be dragged to and suffer through -- uh, I mean, will accompany their smiling parents to, and participate in joyfully!  Read more »

Applying to primary schools in Hong Kong: a Tall tale

Up to this point, my series of articles on choosing a primary school in Hong Kong has remained quite impersonal. I've alluded to some of the things we Talls encountered in our own school search, but avoided saying how that search turned out. Well, in this article, here we go with the details . . . . Read more »

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