No let-up in demand for international school places in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 June, 2014, 10:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 June, 2014, 10:01am

The international school population in Hong Kong will continue to rise, according to a report by ISC Research, which is part of an international consultancy group that delivers independent market intelligence on the world's English-medium international schools.

It names Hong Kong International School and the Christian Alliance P.C. Lau Memorial International School (CAIS) as schools that are undergoing expansion. The latter, divided into two campuses, one in Kowloon City and the other in Lai Yiu, is developing a state-of-the-art campus in Butterfly Valley, Lai Chi Kok. All preparatory through to grade 11 students registered at any of the CAIS campuses in the year prior to the opening of the Butterfly Valley campus in 2017 will have first priority to register at the new school.

The demand in Hong Kong suggests continued pressure on international school places in the foreseeable future
isc chairman nicholas brummitt 

The slick new campus will have capacity for 1,600 students, compared with 950 at present. It is not known yet if all students from existing campuses will have to move to the new site.

Also in 2017, Hong Kong International School will add 200 places when a HK$900 million redevelopment plan is completed, taking the school to 850 primary students at full capacity, the report says.

ISC data shows the number of international schools in Hong Kong has risen from 92 in 2000 to about 170 today, while the number of students has almost doubled, from 34,200 to 66,138, fuelled by demand from wealthy local families. Chinese, British, American, Canadian and Australian students now make up the largest countries of origin for foreign students. About 28 per cent of the schools have student populations of at least 500 and 12 per cent have more than 1,000.

Head of CAIS, Arthur D. Enns, notes a strong presence of Chinese students in his school.

"Statistics don't cross-reference ethnicity and passport origins, but CAIS has always had strong ethnic Chinese representation among the student body which has held steady at around 80 per cent of total enrolment for many years. Demand for places from local Chinese families is high, but existing policy precludes significant growth in student numbers from local Chinese families."

The Education Bureau requires the schools to abide by a 70/30 foreign passport holder/ Hong Kong resident ratio for admissions.

Nord Anglia International School, to be opened in Lam Tin in September, has admitted more than 450 students.

Since March, the International Montessori School, which specialises in bilingual education, has been running two primary schools after being granted a site in Stanley in addition to the one in Tin Hau.

ISC predicts that the building boom is unlikely to fully satisfy the demand for places expected in the next few years.

ISC chairman Nicholas Brummitt says: "The demand in Hong Kong suggests continued pressure on international school places in the foreseeable future. Demand will outstrip the current and forthcoming supply of places to such an extent that good quality new international schools are highly likely to succeed."