Little Miss Siu Baau turned 2 years old recently, Mr. Diplomat and I have been discussing how we are going to go about her education. In the British system, which is being followed in Hong Kong, she will have to go through nursery, reception, year 1 and year 2 here. Our preschooler will start a year from now, but with the mile-long waiting list in English schools here, starting to look for schools now just might be all too late.
A friend gave us a pamphlet, Education 2011, tailored to guide expats in choosing schools here. If we are going for an international school, we are looking at annual fees of HKD43,000 in the case of Norwegian International School to HKD189,100 in the case of Hong Kong International School. Some international schools also require debentures of HKD50,000 to 1,000,000 on top of the annual fees.
Another option presented in the pamphlet is to go for schools under the English Schools Foundation (ESF schools), which applies the British system as adapted to Hong Kong. The annual fees cost HKD51,000 to 94,000, depending on which level your child is at.
Reading further in the Internet, I learned about other schools that offer English as the medium of instruction (EMI schools), although we have to check first their teachers and how well their students speak English. There are also schools that have a separate international stream like the Kiangsu and Chekiang School.
Beyond cost and quality, another dilemma lies in that we do not know whether the next countries that we will be in follow either British or US system. The answer to which can possibly be neither. Of course, there will always be the option of having continuity through international schools, but then again, at what cost, especially if you have more diplobrats?
As we will only be concerned with preschools and primary schools, these are the options we are looking at:
Delia (Man Kiu) English Primary School
Lantau International School
St. Margaret’s Co-educational English Secondary and Primary School
Sun Island Kindergarten
Sunshine House International Pre-school
Hopefully, Little Miss Siu Baau gets accepted in one next year.