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How do international schools in Hong Kong compare to other places in Asia?

When it comes to choosing a school in Asia, there are thousands of options in both the public and private sectors to pick from. Here, we will focus on selecting a private international school and why Hong Kong stands out as a top choice when compared to other Asiatic countries. Despite having a population of just 7.48 million settled on a mere 1,106 square kilometres, Hong Kong has grown to become a powerful education hub that is more than capable of challenging the prowess of far larger nations. Here is why you should consider it for your child’s educational needs. 

1. Variety

Hong Kong is home to about 175 international schools. This is quite impressive given its modest size. Far bigger nations like Vietnam have fewer schools, as does its rival Singapore. This large number of schools provides plenty of choices for students, whether they prefer to focus on sciences, sports, or the arts. Different schools will invest in varying degrees in the necessary facilities to support such pursuits. They also offer a range of curriculum choices including GCSE, IGCSE, IB, IB diploma, and APs. 

There are also varied options if parents want their child to attend a boarding or day school. Given the small size of the territory, you should not be surprised that most schools are for day scholars. For students and parents interested in developing their language skills and aptitude, many of the international schools are bilingual or offer various language classes for English, Spanish, French, Cantonese, Mandarin and more. 

Because of how culturally diverse Hong Kong is, you can likely find various places where certain languages are more commonly spoken by the populace. This makes it easy for students to carry on practising their language skills, even out of school. There are not many melting pot destinations that can compare in other parts of Asia.  

2. Language

The main language of instruction for most private international schools in Hong Kong is English. This is mainly thanks to the schools offering academic curriculum or qualifications such as GCSE, IGCSE, IB, and APs. Since these exams are conducted in English, it makes sense that instruction is done the same way. Students in many such schools can however also take up language classes in other languages to broaden or intensify their language skills. 

While you can find other schools in Asia where these languages are taught, Hong Kong is unique thanks to having some schools undertaking bilingual teaching. This provides students with much better language skills that can better impact their ability to converse when travelling abroad and considering academic and career prospects. Even for those that prefer to just focus on English speaking, it is one of the main languages spoken in the territory so you will find yourself easily understood wherever you go. 

3. Quality of Education

The quality of primary and secondary education, especially in private international schools in Hong Kong, is fairly comparable to what you would get in other parts of Asia. This is because most learning follows British curriculums. Some of the schools are even part of an international brand, so will have sister schools in other parts of Asia that generally offer the same quality of teaching and follow similar policies. 

It is however noteworthy that despite the small size of Hong Kong, two of its universities are ranked in the top 10 of QS Asia University Rankings. This places the quality of its higher education schools at a cut above most of the rest of Asia. Even students from private international schools do qualify to join such local universities via non-JUPAS direct entry. 

4. Talent Pool 

Hong Kong is steadily becoming a top choice for foreigners looking to teach abroad. English speakers are particularly drawn to it thanks to the NET scheme that provides a streamlined process for certified teachers to secure positions in the region. The tax rate is fairly low and many teachers do qualify for generous allowances that further add to their pay. Some of the benefits include medical insurance, housing allowances, and airfare reimbursement. 

This alongside the active social scene, natural attractions, cultural diversity, rewarding teaching experience, respectful students, and frequent holidays make Hong Kong a strong lure for teachers. With such appeal, schools can make their choice of teachers from a much larger talent pool than other countries. Schools can adhere to a high standard during recruitment, ensuring that the faculty that caters to students is of a high calibre. 

5. Travel Hub

Hong Kong is one of the most important travel hubs in Asia. It is the starting point for most first-time travellers looking to explore the continent thanks to its many direct links to numerous other cities, especially in China. 

For parents whose careers require them to relocate to different parts of the world, it makes sense to commit their child to a school in Hong Kong as chances are wherever they settle, their child will be just one plane ride away. Rather than continuously switching schools every time you get a new appointment, you can provide your child with stability by allowing them to remain and thrive in one school for the duration of their primary and secondary training. 

6. Security

Hong Kong is one of the safest places in the world. Despite having a bustling city, crime rates are rock bottom, with few incidents reported even when walking alone at night. Contributing factors to this includes the local culture that is hostile towards criminal activity and positive attitudes towards reporting crimes.

When parents are comparing schools in different countries, safety has to be a key consideration. This is an area where Hong Kong excels with the government even supporting safe community programs that include schools working towards occupational safety and health.  If you want your child to live and study in a safe environment, then choosing a school in Hong Kong should be at the top of your list.