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.

Hong Kong schools: Internationals schools and the ESF

A reader asks: What are the ESF schools like? I'm coming to work in one soon. Are they ANYTHING like the fairly decent comprehensive I'm leaving?

Mr Tall replies: Don't panic -- the ESF schools have a reasonably good reputation. They're not 'local schools' in the sense that most of us on have been using the term, i.e. they teach in English and are mostly for expats' children, or for local people who want their children to have a western-style education. NET teachers aren't assigned to ESF schools; their purpose is to help raise the English language standard in local schools. Read more »

Hong Kong schools: perspectives on local schools

This collection of posts recounts mostly Hong Kong expatriates' experiences of local schools here, both as teachers and as parents of students who attend them. This thread has lots of interesting and pertinent information, but please keep in mind that Hong Kong's schools vary greatly.

MrB starts us off by asking some of the big questions about schools in Hong KongRead more »

Hong Kong schools: Local vs International

This long article brings together some of the back-and-forth agonizing that goes on when people in Hong Kong try to choose between sending their children to local schools and 'international' schools, including the ESF.

Mr B kicks us off:

Mr Tall, I'm glad that you're leading the way with the choice on which type of school to attend.

MsB's kindergarten interviews, part II

We had another interview on a recent Saturday, this time at a popular kindergarten in mid-levels. The style was different again, but left us feeling even more convinced that kindergarten #3 mentioned in the previous article was the right choice for us. Then on Monday we received a letter saying that #3 had accepted MsB, so all is well with the world. Still, this brush with the interviewing process has opened my eyes to a business opportunity… Read more »

Hong Kong Kindergartens, again!

As Mr Tall notes, we're currently making our choice of kindergarten for MissB. Yes, it's interview time.

When I first heard about the concept of interviews for kindergartens, I filed it away under the category of amusing stories to tell visitors, and left it at that. Several years later and we're in the thick of it. It turns out that the term "interview" is pretty broad, and the three we've been to have all been very different.

Interviewing through the language barrier Read more »

Schools update

As the temperatures drop, and premature Christmas decorations go up in every land, it's a good time for the batgung to bring you up to date on a topic we both love and hate: choosing a school in Hong Kong.

The Autumn 2005 scenario: Daughter T has begun her formal Hong Kong education. She's in her second month as a K1 student at a local kindergarten. Mr and Mrs B are currently shopping around for kindergartens, as their little lovely will be starting K1 next year. Read more »

Power language

Some time ago, I came across the following quotation in a Washington Post review of a book about lost languages:

People will always educate their children in what they perceive as the power language. Success . . . means belonging to the elite; to belong to the elite you must speak the official and international language. As soon as they can, that is what even the most down-trodden of minority language speakers will aim at, for their children even more than for themselves.

This got me thinking about the linguistic situation in Hong Kong. Given that the language of power in Hong Kong was English for so many years, why is the English standard here so uneven at best, and why has it seemed to slip in recent years? Read more »

Hong Kong kindergartens: interviewing

Over the past couple of months, my daughter has attended a series of nerve-wracking, make-or-break interviews to try to gain a place in an educational institution that will help her to explore and develop her intellectual and creative gifts, and to grow into the productive member of society she's surely destined to be.

She's two years old.

She's been interviewing for a place in a kindergarten (a term that in Hong Kong encompasses three years' worth of schooling, from about ages 3-5). After going through this application and interview process at my daughter's side, I think I'm well-equipped to provide you with a little tour through the lower reaches of the Hong Kong education system. Read more »

Schools part II: Getting into a good school in Hong Kong

If Hong Kong expat parents decide to send their children to local schools, then begins the intimidating process of trying to get them into a 'good' one. Parents all over the world try hard to get the best education possible for their children, of course, so in one sense there's nothing unusual about this. But the lengths to which some Hong Kong parents will go beggar belief.

Why is getting into a good school such a big deal here? Read more »

Schools in Hong Kong, part I

Soon the Talls -- and a little later, the Baldings -- must make a fundamental child-raising choice. Do we send our little darlings to local schools, or to expatriate-dominated international schools?

This is a no-brainer for expats who arrive in Hong Kong with children who are already school-aged: since such children don't speak or read Chinese, it's international school (or English Schools Foundation schools, which I'm lumping together with international schools for pure convenience) or nothing, and in Hong Kong 'nothing' is illegal. Read more »

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