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Free Kindergarten

  1. #1
    GeoDerek is offline Registered User
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    Free Kindergarten

    Free education is on track to be extended from 12 to 15 years to include kindergarten...

    "In order to make sure Hong Kong will be able to develop one of the best, most competitive kindergarten education policies, there must be three years of free education," Ng said.

    He did not say, however, when the plan will get off the ground.

    http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_d...101&con_type=1
    The Standard has reported that public education is set to include kindergarten, which will be interesting considering how many different style kindergartens there are in Hong Kong.

    This is good news for parents with plenty of other bills on their plates, plus potential college costs down the road to prepare for.

    But how will they determine which kindergartens are deserving of government support?

  2. #2
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    i would assume it would be along the lines of the pre-primary voucher... the kindergartens must meet certain requirements in order to be eligible to accept the voucher...

    as it is, with this voucher scheme, we only pay $600/month for full-day kindergarten for our daughter. not free, but not far off.
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    charade is offline Registered User
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    From a programme I watched on TV, a number of the popular kindergartens prefer to opt out of the existing EDB scheme because they find the EDB's administrative requirements too onerous. I believe many of these are the so-called International kindergartens, thus those who cannot afford to send their kids to non-subsidized kindergartens not only have the option of the popular kindergartens closed to them but also are restricted in language choice. This may not be an issue for expat parents where their kids will pick up English at home but for the many lower income families who would have wanted their children to have a stab at education in English starting early, this measure is not really going to help them.

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    carang is offline Registered User
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    one of the requirements to be eligible to accept the voucher is that they cannot charge more than $X fees and they must follow the local curriculum.

    for the latter reason alone, most expats don't even consider a local kindergarten.
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  5. #5
    charade is offline Registered User
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    I'm pointing to the reverse phenomenon, where locals from lower income families are largely priced out of English education and that this measure does nothing for them. It will however help families who find even the current subsidized fee a strain on their income.
    carang and Mrs P like this.

  6. #6
    Mrs P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charade View Post
    I'm pointing to the reverse phenomenon, where locals from lower income families are largely priced out of English education and that this measure does nothing for them. It will however help families who find even the current subsidized fee a strain on their income.
    I am so in agreement with you, charade. I have been determined to send my daughter to a local stream to learn Chinese. I see many local HK Chinese parents on the Chinese education forum lamenting that they can't get a good English school for their kids. More kindergartens are opting out of the voucher scheme as well. Two of the well known ones are already opting out.

    HK Ling Liang Church Kindergarten
    St Paul's Kindergarten (Causeway Bay)

    I think my daughter failed the interview at Rosaryhill as she was forcibly woken up during her nap to sit down for the interview. However, that is a cheap and good school for non Chinese speaking parents. They are still under the voucher scheme.

  7. #7
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    If Chinese parents are truly low-income they can apply for government assistance to offset education costs.

    Also, kindergarten is not compulsory in Hong Kong and I think that affects its status in this city. Something that is not compulsory may be seen as not totally necessary from a financial perspective. I'm not saying that I don't think it's beneficial. In the United States that is why the "Head Start" program was started nationally because early education can be a very effective intervention tool for a myriad of issues and cases.

    I think many kindergartens opt out of the voucher scheme because they want to remain a for-profit kindergarten and charge higher fees. In order to participate in the voucher scheme the kindergarten must be non-profit and tuition under a certain cost. If it suits the goals and objectives of the kindergarten to keep charging higher fees and in some cases making a profit then the kindergarten doesn't participate.

    That said, I would say the current voucher scheme makes kindergarten quite affordable...even for lower (but not the lowest) income families. I think the only way to get measures passed to make kindergarten free for the kindergartens currently under the scheme would be to make kindergarten attendance compulsory.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

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    Jomama is offline Registered User
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    Making kindergarten attendance compulsory would be an excellent idea, given the research had somewhat proven the importance of early education. I'm surprised to know that it is not compulsory in HK.
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