HKIS upgrades to attract top teachers
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Given the willingness of some of Hong Kong's international schools to invest increasing sums in their facilities, the future of private education looks bright indeed.
German Swiss International School (GSIS) and Kellett School are in the midst of major upgrades, while Hong Kong International School (HKIS) has recently announced the HK$980-million construction of a lower primary building on its site at Repulse Bay.
'This is the biggest investment we have made for many years - if not the biggest since we were established in 1966,' says Kevin M. Dunning, head of school at HKIS.
Dunning says the quality of a school's facilities is crucial in attracting top-level international teachers. 'Nobody wants to work or teach in a poorly maintained work environment. Teachers want the latest technology, smart infrastructure and modern equipment,' he says.
The new building, designed to fully utilise natural light, will house state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor learning facilities. Its gym, auditorium and indoor swimming pool will be shared with the upper primary school of HKIS.
'If we're to be a leading school in Hong Kong and Asia Pacific, we need to move with the changing educational environment,' Dunning says.
And in this environment, the demand for top quality education is stronger than ever. 'This year, we saw the highest number of applicants for our lower primary school [ever],' he adds.
Work will begin on the new building in June 2012, with 660 students, aged between four and seven, relocating to a campus in Chai Wan for three academic years. Dunning sees this temporary home as an upgrade in its own right.
'The extra light and play areas are something we don't have in Repulse Bay. On high [pollution] days, we keep the children indoors, so having a large, safe, dedicated play area in Chai Wan will really help student development. We're putting filters in the air conditioning so the air quality is the best it can be.'
It's not only the students and their parents who will appreciate the new building, Dunning believes. '[Repulse Bay] will also include some new accommodation for staff,' he says, adding that teachers and students helped design the new classrooms.