Success of HKIS alumni is biggest draw
Despite the high fees, a place in one of Hong Kong's top international schools is more highly prized than ever. But demand currently far exceeds supply, a fact bemoaned by expat and local parents alike.
And this shortfall could affect the city's long-term prosperity. Recent surveys conducted by the British and Canadian chambers of commerce has found that the difficulty employee's face securing a place for their children at a first-rate institution makes it harder for overseas companies to develop in Hong Kong.
In the coming academic year, the highly regarded Hong Kong International School (HKIS) will teach over 2,600 students, from Reception 1 to Grade 12, at its two sites in Repulse Bay and Tai Tam. But despite its size, the school has still had to turn away over 70 per cent of this year's applicants.
'Each year, HKIS' Reception 1 class (pre-Kindergarten) offers places to 135 new students,' says Erik Dierks, Chief Advancement Officer with HKIS. 'This year, HKIS received 29 per cent more applications for the 2011/2012 school year than for the year previous.'
The school has been offering an American-style education to students for the last 44 years, and one factor accounting for its continued popularity is its impressive facilities.
'The school is comprised of over 1 million square feet of learning space spread over two campuses,' says Dierks. Within its grounds, he adds, 'the school has state-of-the-art arts, cultural, and sports facilities.'
But it's the academic success of a school's students, along with their all-round development, that is surely the big draw for parents.
For the year 2009/10, HKIS SAT scores were consistently above the US national mean,' says Dierks. 'For reading scores were 115 points above; for math, 148 above; and for writing, 133. Students graduating from HKIS attend many of the best universities in the world.'
'We work with all students to achieve their highest potential academically, and to get involved as global citizens,' he continues. 'We expect our students to be active participants in their present and future communities.'
Results, and goals, like these are impossible to achieve without top quality teaching. HKIS's 500 faculty and staff have been drawn from Hong Kong and across the globe.
Dierk says HKIS seeks applicants who are more than excellent educators. 'Our teachers are life-long learners, collaborative, and involved in all aspects of our school community. We also seek applicants with a commitment to understanding and respecting Christianity and other religions.'
He believes that teachers are attracted to HKIS by the opportunity to work at a premier international school and by the institute's focus on developing the whole student. 'We also offer a competitive and innovative compensation package encompassing professional growth, career progression, teacher assessment and a knowledge and skills-based performance pay,' he adds.