The Lack Of International School Places In Hong Kong

12:29 pm Blogroll, Hong Kong Education

Shortage of school places

The South China Morning Post recently reported that ‘the lack of international school places in Hong Kong could undermine its long-term development as a regional business centre.’ (Dennis Chong, ‘Business fears over lack of school places’, SCMP, 13 July 2011). The article cites surveys carried out on behalf of the British and Canadian Chambers of Commerce that indicate that this issue is having a detrimental impact on both the international business community’s perception of Hong Kong and their willingness to locate their operations here.

This is not an issue that will be resolved quickly, given that the availability of land is at a premium in Hong Kong (particularly on Hong Kong Island where the majority of the international business community lives) and that the construction of new schools is a costly and time consuming business. In addition, by allocating land for the development of new schools, the government forgoes the capital receipts associated with other land uses. However, this opportunity cost needs to be weighed against the lost tax revenue that could result from a failure to address this issue.

Given the importance of education in an increasingly competitive world, the concern of parents is understandable: not only are there insufficient international school places in Hong Kong, but the range of educational options can be somewhat bewildering: international schools offer a wide variety of examination systems and educational approaches. ITS’s Educational Services Team has, for a number of years, been helping parents to find places for their children at Hong Kong international schools. In the last year, the team helped more than 80 families to find school places for their children.

Many parents – both local and foreign – are willing to consider international education options for their children once they move on to senior school. ITS’s UK Education Team has excellent working relationships with a wide range of boarding schools in the United Kingdom. These schools provide a very high standard of education and excellent facilities that cater for a wide range of sporting and extracurricular activities. They also offer an opportunity for children to become more mature, independent, and self-sufficient. Studying in the UK is a particularly good option for those students who are planning to attend a UK university.

Furthermore, ITS’s two registered schools can provide interim solutions for those families who arrive in Hong Kong when the school year is already in progress. We can act as the main education provider for those children who are waiting for a suitable school place to become available. We can also offer an alternative for students of 16 or older who wish to opt out of full time mainstream education: individual or small group A Level classes, which lead to an internationally recognised qualification that will prepare them for university entrance.

Until such time as the Hong Kong government acts to resolve the shortfall of international school places, ITS will be here to help families to make the best of the available opportunities.

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