Education and Schools in Hong Kong

Schools in Hong Kong are well regarded academically. Although public schools uphold a high standard of learning, the curriculum is mostly taught in Cantonese and centred on learning by repetition and frequent examinations.

As a result, expat families usually enrol their children in private international schools. Fortunately, the diverse nature of Hong Kong ensures that there are many international teachers and school options for expat children.

Public schools in Hong Kong 

Public schools in Hong Kong are fully funded by the government and offer free education to all children. The government has implemented language and cultural support programmes for non-Chinese-speaking children, which can ease the transition somewhat. However, this remains a difficult path, especially for older children who are unable to pick up a new language as quickly as younger kids.

Families in Hong Kong for the long haul may benefit from the cultural integration local schools offer – however, most expats opt for international schools instead, particularly those on a limited-term assignment.

International schools in Hong Kong

There is a large number of international schools in Hong Kong which teach the curriculum of their founding country or other internationally recognised programmes like the International Baccalaureate. The American and British curricula are taught by many international schools but other countries are also represented, such as Canada, France and Germany.

Fees for international schools are typically high, and families with an expat package that does not include a school subsidy may find the cost of international schools in Hong Kong to be prohibitively expensive.

The limited number of places at international schools in Hong Kong may also be a concern for expat families. For this reason, it's important to start the application process as early as possible.

Homeschooling in Hong Kong

The laws around homeschooling in Hong Kong are vague, but it is generally agreed that families intending to homeschool should inform the Hong Kong Education Bureau of their intention to do so. There are a number of local homeschooling organisations in Hong Kong that expats can seek guidance from.

Shannon Young Our Expat Expert

Shannon is an American teacher and writer currently living in Hong Kong. She writes a book and travel blog about her reading adventures, and she is working on a travel memoir about the year she found herself unexpectedly alone in HK. She likes fencing, traveling and coffee shops.