Chinese International School extends scholarships to outsiders
Up to four students whose parents can't afford the tuition fees of an international school will get a chance to study at Chinese International School (CIS) starting from next year, thanks to the school's first scholarship programme.
Full or partial tuition will be granted for study between Year 10 and graduation, CIS headmaster Ted Faunce says. "We've always had a limited aid programme, mainly to assist students currently enrolled who are facing financial hardship," he says. "This is the first time we are launching a scholarship programme for external applicants.
"We will consider all people, but it's essentially for the local community. We will do a financial needs analysis internally. But we don't want to state in absolute terms [criteria for family income]."
CIS also plans to make provisions to cover additional expenses such books and required trips.
With an annual tuition set at HK$171,000 for Year 10 and 11 students and HK$173,400 for Year 12 and 13 this academic year, study at CIS, like other international schools, is restricted to a small percentage of more affluent families.
However, its new scholarship scheme has dovetailed with an annual progress report by the CIS human rights group, which called for greater socio-econonic diversity in the student body.
The handful of scholarship places is long way from an ideal of admitting students solely on merit, but "it's better than nothing", says English teacher Brian Kern.
Candidates will need to file applications and fulfil supplementary requirements, providing a full school record and letter of motivation. They will also be interviewed. "We'll look for evidence of talent and achievement. There's no fixed benchmark," Faunce says.
Students will be evaluated to see what they can bring to CIS in terms of character, leadership potential and excellence in areas like service to the community, arts and sports.
CIS aims to publicise the scheme through Chinese-language media. "We are more Chinese in terms of our language and identity, unlike Anglophone or other international schools," Faunce says.
Details of the scheme will be announced early next month.
A few international schools such as Yew Chung and Hong Kong Academy have also introduced scholarships for deserving students.