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Educating Children in Hong Kong: An Introduction for Expats

Hong Kong is a fantastic place to live for many reasons-  eating, shopping, socialising and doing business to name but a few. This is why it has always attracted many talented people from all around the world. Due an increasing population in recent years however, schools in Hong Kong are struggling to cope and many are approaching full capacity especially for places at lower grades. How to secure a school place for your kids has become one of the hot topics for Hong Kong locals and expatriates alike.

Education in Hong Kong is similar in many ways to that of the United Kingdom- the education system in Hong Kong was modernized by the British in 1861 and is known to be extremely competitive by global standards.

So, what's the next step if you're considering a move to Hong Kong with children? Firstly, decide what sort of school you want as there are a number of different types. Government owned 'local' schools offer a great bilingual experience although lessons are conducted mainly in Cantonese. These schools do have the advantage of being free however! Private international schools are the other option- here children are taught in English (or the language of the sponsoring nation ie. French, German, Japanese etc.) The English Schools Foundation run a network of schools throughout Hong Kng and their curriculum is based on that of the UK, so children can slot back in to British education easily if their parent(s) is travelling back and forth for work. 

The fees for international school cost upwards of  HK$ 5,500 per month. Most school application forms are available from their website and it is strongly recommended that parents apply for places for their children as early as possible to get on the waiting list. However, all schools have different admission systems and criteria which can include nationality, sibling priority, date of application and gender (balancing quotas) etc. The best thing to do is to research the school you like online and contact them to find out the application process and availability of places/size of waiting list.  Some schools will offer a debenture system for school places.

In summary, it is recommended that parents should do extensive research, apply as early as possible and be open minded with school choices to increase your chance to get a school place.

The construction recruitment consultants at Maxim in Hong Kong will be happy to discuss matters relating to schooling as part of a discussion about the issue of relocation once we have identified possible construction industry jobs for you.

Best wishes,
Steve Thomas
Maxim Recruitment in Hong Kong

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