International Education in Hong Kong
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that some of the most expensive international schools in the world are in Hong Kong. Asia is the most expensive continent on the planet for international education, and Hong Kong is routinely among the top 10 cities in Asia with the highest fees. Competition is also fierce, and it may seem like finding a place for your child in one of the city’s schools is impossible. But it’s not! Read on to find out all you need to know...
Education in Hong Kong is compulsory from the ages of 6 to 14, but the majority of children start school at age 3 or 4 and stay right up until 18 before moving on to university. There are endless international schools in the city to choose from. Most are located on Hong Kong island, with a cluster on Lantau island and many more in the city centre proper.
As a former British colony, education in Hong Kong follows the British system. Tuition is in English and the British and International Baccalaureate curricula are the most common by far. However, you can find pretty much any kind of international school here. Cantonese and Mandarin classes are also offered as standard, everywhere.
As Hong Kong’s economy continues to thrive, numbers of local students are increasing rapidly in the city’s international schools, creating a more diverse student body. While more diversity is always good, the drawback is that there is now more competition for school places than ever before, and higher fees as a result.
It’s not just the competition and already high yearly fees that make Hong Kong’s international schools so expensive. Just to win a place, you may be asked to hand over a non-refundable application fee, a reservation fee (or both), and an annual capital levy once your child starts attending.
Some schools offer ‘debentures’ (massive on-off fees in return for school places) to big companies in Hong Kong so that the children of executives are guaranteed places’. Priority may also be given to siblings of existing students, children of staff, or children of certain nationalities. It’s quite common to begin the application process a year or more in advance. Prepare for long waiting lists, then a round of assessments and a face-to-face interview as a minimum.
Demand for international schools in Hong Kong is so high, in fact, that the city is actually running out of space to build them! Typically international schools in this part of the world have large campuses with sports grounds, plenty of open space, extensive facilities and a huge student population. The land shortage means that some new schools are repurposing old buildings in order to meet the demand. Expect to see plenty of new international schools popping up in former shopping mall sites.
Below, we have compiled our top 10 international schools in Hong Kong. However, there are another 66 schools to choose from in the city. You can find the best international school for your child by personalising your results. Just fill in your search criteria, and we will calculate a personal score for every international school in Hong Kong based on your requirements.