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Internation Schools in Hong Kong with Strong Mandarin

  1. #1
    Mamamia 1 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    HK Island

    Smile Internation Schools in Hong Kong with Strong Mandarin

    Here's my research to share with all parents out there looking for international schools in Hong Kong with strong Mandarin.

    1) Chinese International School (CIS)
    Location: North Point, Braemar Hill
    Language medium: Dual Language Programme (2 teachers in classroom - 1 native Mandarin teacher / 1 native English teacher)
    Mandarin as a second language offered to kids who join after Year 1
    Mix of nationalities: 70% local kids / 30% English speaking (rough estimate only - check with school)
    Curriculum: IB Year 1-13, PYP, MYP, IB Diploma
    Fees: $12,500/mth (2009/10) Private Debenture: $60,000? Refundable when child leaves
    Priorities given to Corporate Debenture holders currently priced at HK$3.6million for 2009/10!
    Campus: Very nice

    2) Kiangsu & Chekiang International School (KCIS)
    (Playgroup to Year 13)
    Location: Nursery to P1 - North Point, Ching Wah Street
    P2 to Year 13 - North Point, Braemar Hill
    Language medium: Nursery to Year 13 (75% classes taught by native English teachers/ 25% classes taught by native Mandarin teachers)
    From P1, Mandarin class and Chinese Culture class constitute the 25% Mandarin. Mandarin classes are streamed into 3 levels.
    Mix of nationalities: Most kids are from local Hong Kong families, some Eurasian kids.
    Curriculum: British Curriculum Year 1-11, IGCSE exam in Year 11, IB Diploma Year 12-13
    Fees: $6,000/mth, no Debenture
    Campus: Both campuses are like typical local schools - somewhat gloomy

    3) Independent Schools Foundations Academy (ISF)
    (Foundation to Year 13)
    Location: Cyberport, Pok Fu Lam
    Language medium: (Foundation Year - Year 4: 70% classes taught by native Mandarin teachers/ 30% classes taught by native English teachers)
    (Year 5 upwards: 50% Mandarin / 50% English)
    This is a true English & Mandarin Immersion school. Cantonese or any other languages are banned in the playground.
    Mix of nationalities: Majority of kids are from mainland and Hong Kong families, quite a few English speaking kids - British, American & Europeans.
    Curriculum: ISF Primary Programme - similar to IB PYP,
    MYP for Year 7-11, IB Diploma for Year 12-13
    Fees: $11,500/mth, Private Debenture - $200,000 refundable when child leaves
    Campus: Beautiful brand new campus / other wings under construction

    4) International Montessori School (IMS)

    (Toddler, Preschool & Primary school only)
    Location: Preschool Campus (CASA): Aberdeen
    Toddler & Primary Campus: Morrison Hill, Wanchai
    Language medium: Medium of instruction in English with approx 1 hour of Mandarin taught in small groups daily. Streamed according to Mandarin ability.
    Mix of nationalities: Real mix
    Curriculum: Montessori Primary Curriculum
    Fees: $10,500/mth, Private Debenture - $60,000 (2009/10) refundable when child leaves
    Campus: Aberdeen - very nice / Wanchai - like a typical local school - somewhat gloomy

    5) Singapore International School (SIS)
    Location: Primary campus in Aberdeen, Secondary Campus in Wanchai
    Language medium: (Prep 1 - 2) 50% Mandarin / 50% English
    Instruction language ratio change from P1 - check with school
    Teachers: 1/3 Westerners, 1/3 Singaporeans, 1/3 Mainland Chinese
    Curriculum: IB
    Fees: check on school website
    Campus: quite nice

    All the above schools teach traditional Chinese, the form used in Hong Kong, except for Singapore International which teaches simplified Chinese, the form used in China and Singapore.

    For more up to date and accurate information, please check in the website of each school, go on school tours and talk to other parents.
    Last edited by Mamamia 1; 12-21-2009 at 08:35 PM.
    mamadaddad likes this.

  2. #2
    LeahH is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Hong Kong, Mid Levels
    This is fantastic, thanks SO MUCH!

  3. #3
    Mamamia 1 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    HK Island
    You are very welcome!! I totally understand the frustration that parents go through because I am one of them myself. I just wish that someone else presented me with a list like that last year so that I wouldn't be in the situation I'm in now - STUCK! We've missed the CIS reception deadline and now we have to settle for other bilingual schools which don't really compare.

    BTW, there's also the Victoria and Shanghai Academy in Aberdeen which is pretty much the only school I've missed out on the list with a strong Mandarin program. I haven't really bothered doing any in-depth research on this one. It looks really good on paper though - through train school from kindergarten to Year 13, IB Curriculum, native English and native Mandarin teachers, $7,000+ per mth - significantly cheaper than CIS, ISF and IMS. But kids are predominantly from Chinese speaking families. I've read in other forums that kids speak Cantonese to each other in the playground. But to really find out, don't just take other's word for it. Check it out and visit the school. Go to the playground and observe. Prepare a list of questions to ask the school. It's very important that you ask the right questions. Schools won't volunteer information if you don't ask.
    Last edited by Mamamia 1; 12-21-2009 at 10:55 PM.

  4. #4
    barbwong_130 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Hong Kong
    Although Yew Chung is in Kowloon rather than Hong Kong if you are looking for a school with strong English and Mandarin I would definitely go and look at this school.

    Yew Chung International School
    Yew Chung International School of Hong Kong

  5. #5
    Elise is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Hong Kong
    Just a few adjustments - CIS has not implemented the PYP, either has SIS. ISF primary English curriculum still needs a less local school approach. CIS English, Maths and Integrated Studies based on western curriculum models, SIS in primary based on Singapore's syllabus from the Ministry of Education.

  6. #6
    FutureHKmom is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Thanks Mamamia 1 for such comprehensive information!!!

    Was wondering if you ever looked at the strength of Mandarin program at HKIS. Of course not up to the same strength as the schools you mentioned, but do you know how it is in general? Thanks

  7. #7
    Obiwan is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Hong Kong
    Thanks Mamamia. Would your top choice be CIS (read from your other thread)?

    Is there a nursery/Kindergarten for CIS students? Thanks.

  8. #8
    Mamamia 1 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    HK Island
    Hello all

    Yes, thanks for the correction. The above 'research info' I typed up just from memory. So there may be a few details which are inaccurate. Hence I suggested that parents check things out for themselves from the websites and school visits.

    We are having such a hard time with deciding on schools because we didn't do enough research. I try to put everything I know here for other parents to make things easier. The international system is in Hong Kong is so complicated that you really have to start doing your research when your child is born. When people told me that before I honestly thought they were kidding. They weren't!

    Many international schools have different application deadlines, different curriculum and even different names for each grade level. It’s mind boggling! Someone really should draw up a chart to give parents an overview. I started doing a rough one in order to explain to my husband the differences of all these schools.

    Yes, our top choice is CIS. But the chances of any child getting into Year 1 from outside is close to zero unless they have a Corporate Debenture which is currently valued at HK$3.6 M according to SCMP! That is just madness!! So yes, Year 1 places are very rare because nearly all kids from Reception go up to to Year 1. CIS is one of the best international schools in HK so why would any parents pull their kids out? Of course most kids will stay unless their family have to relocate. CIS also pick kids from families that are more committed to staying in HK for the long term. So the number of kids dropping out after Reception is not high at all. (Obiwan, CIS only has Reception before Year 1. That’s the equivalent of K2 in local schools. Yes, really silly! Why don’t all international schools have nursery, K1 and K2 and standardise the names for all grade levels so that it’s easy for parents to understand?!)

    The only reservations I have about CIS is its snob values. I don’t know this for sure but I hear that some parents give teachers sharks fins and abalone for Christmas presents! So if you are not from the same socio-economic group then naturally you may feel rather out of place and you child may develop the wrong values in life. We are not rich by any means but we are prepared to sell our flat, trade down and use some of that money to pay the hefty school fees because we feel that it is an important investment for our only child. This snob value thing is something that will be a problem with any expensive international schools and something that we have to ignore or overcome if we want the best education for our daughter. BTW we are both educators hence the obsession with getting the ‘best’ school for our daughter.

    At the moment, only ISF and IMS are on our list. Both are just as expensive and has distinct disadvantages. I’ve come to the conclusion that even if you can afford it and are willing to pay, there is no perfect school in Hong Kong.

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