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What's the GO with schools here?

  1. #1
    Lisainhk is offline Registered User
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    What's the GO with schools here?

    Hi. I have a 6 month old boy and we plan to live in HK for a while so I was wondering what's the deal with school systems here?? I've heard P1 and K3 and things like that mentioned and I have no idea what any of it means! I've also heard that you have to put your children on waiting lists to get into schools from a very early age. Is this true? Are there schools that teach cantonese but study mostly in English? Sorry if I sound ignorant but I seriously have NO CLUE! Oh and I've heard schools are heaps expensive! Does it matter if we are on a working visa? Any recommendations on good schools that are not very expensive??

  2. #2
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    the problem with trying to "figure" it all out here is that there are so many different types of schools:
    1) international
    2) ESF
    3) DSS (direct subsidy scheme) local but "better"
    4) local, chinese & english medium of instruction

    locals here tend to put their child into nursery anywhere from 2-2yr8 months. that is usually called N1. Once the childr gets to 3yr8m, then they are in K1; K2 (4yr8m); K3 (5yr8m). local primary schools do not take children before they reach the age of 6.

    ESF schools generally have K1 & K2, then at the age of 5, they go into P1(primary 1).

    so, for example: my son was born in Feb 2005.
    because he misses the cut-off day of Dec 31, he must wait another year before he can go into primary school.

    if he was to go to ESF, he would start P1 this coming september(2010). but, we have decided to put him into a local school so that he learns chinese. because of that, he will instead do K3 in september 2010 and start P1 in september 2011.

    international schools are VERY VERY VERY expensive (doesn't matter what visa you are on).

    ESF schools, for us, are still expensive. they are not as bad as the int'l ones, but still, we can't afford $5-6k/month on school for each child.

    local schools: some are free, some charge fees, some are expensive. it all depends on the school you are interested in.


    if you want an int'l school: WAITING LISTS! you should start contacting them NOW to see what their policies are.

    most schools that teach using english, will have mandarin as the second language, not cantonese. if you want your child to speak cantonese (and read & write) they MUST go to a local chinese-medium school. (this is what we've decided to do, at least for the first few years to see how our kids fare).

  3. #3
    Lisainhk is offline Registered User
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    Far out! This is complicated! Thanks for the reply Cara!

  4. #4
    TheQuasimother is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by carang View Post

    locals here tend to put their child into nursery anywhere from 2-2yr8 months. that is usually called N1. Once the childr gets to 3yr8m, then they are in K1; K2 (4yr8m); K3 (5yr8m). local primary schools do not take children before they reach the age of 6.
    The local kinders in our neighbourhood (and the local kinder my school's organisation is a part of) don't use the same yardstick:

    K1 - At least 2Y 8Mths upon entry i.e. Sept
    K2 - At least 3Y 8Mths upon entry i.e. Sept
    K3 - At least 4Y 8Mths upon entry i.e. Sept

    (ESF follows the same yardstick except that there is no K3. It's P1 in the ESF system)

    P1 (Local schools) - 5 Yrs 8Mths upon entry - At both our sister schools where I work.

    LisainHK - Once you've made a choice, BE VERY AWARE of application deadlines! ESF applications open and close in Sept. the year before your child is due to start K1. Every international school has different criterias. Our only option, Australian International takes in applications from when a child is 2. Of course, you have to be aware of priorities too. ESF - works with 2 Categories. You can go to their kindergarten website to find out about it. Each International school linked to a country in general put their own countrymen up as priority.

    Good Luck!
    It's not that confusing after awhile. But I work in the education sector with colleagues who have their kids across all the systems available in HK so it's not to hard when there is a question!

    It really isn't so bad in HK. Where I'm from, the school of choice for our child - registration takes place when the birth certificate is ready even if you're an alumni member! Puts things in perspective sometimes for us!

  5. #5
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    sorry, i stand corrected... the ages quasi wrote are correct.

    i, too, find it very confusing! LOL!

  6. #6
    carang's Avatar
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    ps> what confuses me is that there ARE some schools that take kids from the age of 2.... for nursery classes.

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