Hong Kong expat parents turning to local schools

Published:  14 May at 6 PM
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Tagged: China, Hong Kong
A growing number of expat parents working in Hong Kong are turning their backs on increasingly expensive international schools in favour of Chinese-medium local primaries.

International and private schools in Hong Kong are no longer expat families’ first choice for their toddlers and young children, due not only to the soaring fees but also for the quality education on offer in the public sector. Yearly fees for top schools range from less expansive private schools at around HK$79,500 to Harrow International School’s HK$136,500, unaffordable to the vast majority of expats.

The final straw for many expat parents came when the English Schools Foundation hiked their primary education fees by 5.9 per cent for the 2013 entry and announced that, from 2014, their schools would stop prioritising places for non-Chinese speaking children. According to Ruth Benny, head of a top schools placement agency, ability in the Chinese language equals affordable education.

Benny recommends that all expat children should be taught Cantonese from their early days in preparation for primary education at affordable Direct Subsidy Scheme schools or government schools. This, she adds, is even more important for parents seeing their long-term future in Hong Kong, and also gives children an insight into Chinese culture.
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