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Frequently Asked Questions on Placement Assistance

Major kinds of enquiries

A.       Universal basic education

B.       Pre-primary education/diversified curriculum and education opportunities

C.       Matters related to the placement of newly-arrived children

D.       Medium of instruction

E.       Others

 

A. Universal basic education

Q1

How old can a child be considered within the universal basic education age?

A1

The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is committed to provide nine-year free universal basic education to all eligible local children, including non-Chinese speaking ethnic minority children. Under the existing policy, all parents must send their children (aged 6-15) who have the right of abode in Hong Kong to attend schools.

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Q2

At what age can a child be allocated with a primary 1 school place?

A2

As at 1 September of every year, children who reach the age of 5 years and 8 months can join the Central Allocation system under the Education Bureau (EDB).  For further information, please contact the School Places Allocation Section.

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Q3

For a child already attending a school, if they cannot continue their studies in the original schools for reasons such as moving houses, family financial problems or disputes etc, and have to continue their studies in a new school, how can parents find a new school for them?

A3

i)    Parents should approach the nearby Regional Education Office to seek placement assistance.Our staff will assist their children as far as possible in getting a new school place to continue their studies.

ii)    Parents may approach the school directly to apply for a place for their children. For information of individual schools, please visit "School Profiles" at the website of Committee on Home-School Co-operation.

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Q4

For children already attending a school, if they do not want to continue their studies in the original schools and want to change to a new school because of personal reasons, such as having different learning aptitudes or abilities, parents looking for alternative curriculum to cultivate their children etc, how can parents obtain useful information and find a suitable school for them?

A4

i)    When choosing a new school for their children, parents should first consider carefully the interests and academic abilities of their children, and choose a suitable school in accordance with their aptitudes and needs. If they are not interested in the curriculum of traditional grammar schools, parents may consider the schools with relatively more diversified curriculum and contact them directly to apply for a school place.

ii)    For information of individual schools, please visit "School Profiles" at the website of Committee on Home-School Co-operation.

iii)   Parents should approach the nearby Regional Education Office to seek placement assistance.Our staff will assist their children as far as possible in getting a new school place to continue their studies.

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Q5

How can newly arrived children get a school place in primary 1 / secondary 1?

A5

Generally speaking, school places in primary 1/secondary 1 are allocated by EDB via the Central Allocation system. If newly arrived children want to study in primary 1 or secondary 1 at the beginning of a school year (school term normally starts at early September), parents should apply for central allocation with the School Places Allocation Section, EDB bringing the entry identity documents of their children before the new school term starts. For children arriving in Hong Kong after the commencement of the school term (i.e. after 1 September), parents should bring along their children and their children identity documents, proof of attained academic qualifications and proof of residential address (both originals and photocopies) to register with the Regional Education Offices. Our staff at the Regional Education Offices will assist them in obtaining a school place.

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Q6

How can newly arrived children from the Mainland get a school place in Hong Kong?

A6

Newly arrived children can get placement assistance by the following ways:

i)    Application by using the yellow form: If the newly arrived children enter Hong Kong via Lo Wu, their parents may complete the yellow form and put it into the collection box when they cross the boundary. Our staff will collect the forms every week. The staff of the Placement Support Section will contact the parents within three days upon receipt of the yellow form and provide placement assistance for their children.

ii)    Application by using business reply: If the children have arrived in Hong Kong but for certain reasons not yet attended schools, their parents may send the completed business reply to us. The staff of the Placement Support Section will contact the parents within three days upon receipt of the business reply provide placement assistance for their children. If the parents consider that their children can attend school at once, our staff at the Regional Education Offices will make placement arrangement as soon as possible. The business replies are available at the 20 Public Enquiry Service Centres of the Home Affairs Department.

iii)   Application to the school direct: Parents may approach the school directly to apply for a place for their children. For information of individual schools, please visit "School Profiles" at the website of Committee on Home-School Co-operation.

iv)    Application through Regional Education Offices: Parents may contact the nearby Regional Education Office directly and seek placement assistance.

Last, children aged 6-15 who are eligible to attend public sector schools could all be provided with a school place by EDB.

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Q7

How can newly arrived children from foreign countries get a school place in Hong Kong ?

A7

Newly arrived children from foreign countries can get a school place in Hong Kong by the following ways:

i)   Direct application with school: Parents may contact the school directly to apply for a place for their children.

   ?    For information of individual schools, please visit "School Profiles" at the website of Committee on Home-School Co-operation.

   ?   In addition, parents may obtain the booklet "Your Guide to Services in Hong Kong" at the airport upon arrival or from District Offices or Sub-offices. Chapter 16 of the booklet gives a brief introduction to the education service in Hong Kong , with the enquiry telephone numbers and addresses of the Regional Education Offices, Placement and Support Section as well as other related departments. This booklet is written in English and languages of seven ethnic minority groups for the easy reference of parents.

ii)   Application through Regional Education Offices: Parents may contact the nearby Regional Education Office directly and seek placement assistance.

Last, children aged 6-15 who are eligible to attend public sector schools could all be provided with a school place by EDB.

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B. Pre-school education/diversified curriculum and education opportunities

Q1

For children aged under 6 (including newly arrived children) wishing to attend school, how can they get a school place?

A1

i)    Parents may contact the kindergarten directly to apply for a place for their children.

ii)   Parents may telephone or visit the nearby Regional Education Office to obtain the information of kindergartens. Parents may also visit "Kindergarten Profiles" at the website of Committee on Home-School Co-operation.

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Q2

For children already attending a school, if they do not want to continue their studies in the original school and want to change to a new school because of personal reasons, such as having different learning aptitudes or abilities, parents looking for alternative curriculum to cultivate their children etc, how can parents obtain useful information and find a suitable school for them?

A2

i)    When choosing a new school for their children, parents should first consider carefully the interests and learning abilities of their children, and choose a suitable school in accordance with their aptitudes and needs.If they are not interested in the curriculum of traditional grammar schools, parents may consider the schools with relatively more diversified curriculum and contact those schools directly to apply for a place for them.

ii)    For information of individual schools, please visit "School Profiles" at the website of Committee on Home-School Co-operation.

iii)   Parents should approach the nearby Regional Education Office to seek placement assistance.  Our staff will assist their children as far as possible in getting a new school place to continue their studies.

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Q3

How does EDB handle student dropouts aged over 15?

A3

For student dropouts aged over 15, EDB will try to place them back to the schools last attended or other schools, depending on such circumstances as parental choices, suitability and availability of school places. With parents' consent, our Bureau may refer these students to short term programmes/ social development programmes run by NGOs to prepare them for resumption of normal schooling.   For information regarding returning to schools, please contact Non-attendance Cases Team at 3698 4382. Furthermore, the Bureau also encourages students and young people to consider their further studies or return to school based on their own abilities and interests.

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Q4

For adults who have not completed basic education (i.e. Secondary 3) or Secondary 6, what are the ways available for them to upgrade their qualifications and employment skills?

A4

To encourage life-long learning, EDB updates the information on "Diversified Education Opportunities" regularly for the reference of the public.

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C. Placement of Newly Arrived Children

Q1

What supporting documents do non-local children need to have if they are to be enrolled in schools in Hong Kong ?

A1

Only those who are holding valid entry identity documents are allowed to attend schools in Hong Kong . For details, please refer to paragraph 5 of the EDB Circular No. 06/2013. Under normal circumstances, non-local children with "student" visas can only enter private schools. Besides, unless clearance is obtained from the Director of Immigration, no child whose travel document/passport bears the endorsement "Visitor" over the immigration stamp or issued with a landing slip imposed with condition of stay "Visitor" upon arrival should be admitted to any school in Hong Kong.

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Q2

How can newly arrived children get a school place in primary 1 / secondary 1?

A2

Generally speaking, school places in primary 1/secondary 1 are allocated by EDB via the Central Allocation system. If newly arrived children want to study in primary 1 or secondary 1 at the beginning of a school year (school term normally starts at early September), parents should apply for central allocation with the School Places Allocation Section, EDB bringing the entry identity documents of their children before the new school term starts. For children arriving in Hong Kong after the commencement of the school term (i.e. after 1 September), parents should bring along their children and their children identity documents, proof of attained academic qualifications and proof of residential address (both originals and photocopies) to register with the Regional Education Offices. Our staff at the Regional Education Offices will assist them in obtaining a school place.

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Q3

If the newly arrived children have been studying in junior or senior secondary classes in the Mainland/overseas, how can their academic levels be aligned with the local education system?

A3

The education system and curriculum of different places are not completely the same. Therefore, as a normal practice, the schools will interview the applicants to assess their suitable class levels before making the placement arrangement.

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Q4

How can newly arrived children from the Mainland get a school place in Hong Kong ?

A4

Newly arrived children can get placement assistance by the following ways:

i)   Application by using the yellow form: If the newly arrived children enter Hong Kong via Lo Wu, their parents may complete the yellow form and put it into the collection box when they cross the boundary. Our staff will collect the forms every week. The staff of the Placement & Support Section will contact the parents within three days upon receipt of the yellow form and provide placement assistance for their children.

ii)   Application by using business reply: If the children have arrived in Hong Kong but for certain reasons not yet attended schools, their parents may send the completed business reply to us. The staff of the Placement Support Section will contact the parents within three days upon receipt of the business reply and provide placement assistance for their children. If the parents consider that their children can attend school at once, our staff at the Regional Education Offices will make placement arrangement as soon as possible. The business replies are available at the 20 Public Enquiry Service Centres of the Home Affairs Department.

iii)   Application to the school directly: Parents may approach the school directly to apply for a place for their children. For information of individual schools, please visit "School Profiles" at the website of Committee on Home-School Co-operation.

iv)   Application through Regional Education Offices: Parents may contact the nearby Regional Education Office directly and seek placement assistance.

Last, children aged 6-15 who are eligible to attend public sector schools could all be provided with a school place by EDB.

TOP

 

Q5

How can newly arrived children from foreign countries get a school place in Hong Kong ?

A5

Newly arrived children from foreign countries can get a school place in Hong Kong by the following ways:

i)   Direct application with school: Parents may contact the school directly to apply for a place for their children.

   ?   For information of individual schools, please visit "School Profiles" at the website of Committee on Home-School Co-operation.

   ?   In addition, parents may obtain the booklet "Your Guide to Services in Hong Kong" at the airport upon arrival or from District Offices or Sub-offices. Chapter 16 of the booklet gives a brief introduction to the education service in Hong Kong , with the enquiry telephone numbers and addresses of the Regional Education Offices, Placement and Support Section as well as other related departments. This booklet is written in English and languages of seven ethnic minority groups for the easy reference of parents.

ii)   Application through Regional Education Offices: Parents may contact the nearby Regional Education Office directly and seek placement assistance.

Last, children aged 6-15 who are eligible to attend public sector schools could all be provided with a school place by EDB.

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Q6

My child will soon complete the secondary education in the place of origin. Can he/she enter the local Secondary Six (S6) classes directly? If he/she wants to sit for the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination, what are the entry requirements of this examination?

A6

You may wish to note that permission for non-locals to enter or reside in Hong Kong for any purpose is at the discretion of the Director of Immigration. Thus, non-local children may enter or reside in Hong Kong for the purpose of education, only with the approval of the Director of Immigration. For further information about immigration matters, please call 2824 6111 or send a mail to enquiry@immd.gov.hk. Upon clearance from the Director of Immigration about the conditions of stay and study in Hong Kong, the children are eligible to study in Hong Kong. As the education systems and curricula of other countries are not the same as the local ones, schools will interview the applicants and assess the level suitable for the applicants before admitting them.

The New Academic Structure (NAS) has been implemented since September 2009. Under the NAS, all students will have the opportunity to study up to Secondary 6. Students with different abilities, interests and aptitudes can give full play to their talents through the broad and balanced senior secondary curriculum. Apart from taking the four core subjects (Chinese Language, English Language, Mathematics and Liberal Studies), students can choose 2 to 3 elective subjects. These elective subjects can be chosen from NSS elective subjects of different Key Learning Areas, Applied Learning courses and/or other language courses. The curriculum breaks the barrier of traditional arts and science streaming. The subjects are diversified. They suit different students' interest, aptitudes and abilities. Through the participation in Other Learning Experiences, students can acquire learning experiences of moral and civic education, community services, physical and aesthetic education and career-related experiences, etc. The knowledge and learning experiences in NSS curriculum are broader and richer than previous curricula. Students' pathways for further education and employment are thus more diversified. The new curriculum can also foster a broader scope of views and life-long learning abilities for students. After completing six years secondary curriculum, students may attend the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination for admission to university. For details of the qualification of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education, please contact Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority.

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Q7

My child has obtained very good academic results in the place of origin and I hope to find some schools specialized in nurturing gifted students for him/her. Does Hong Kong have such a kind of schools? Are there any services for grooming gifted students?

A7

For enquiries concerning the education services for gifted students, please contact the Gifted Education Section at Tel: 3698 3472.

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D. Medium of Instruction

Q1

Which secondary schools in Hong Kong adopt English as the medium of instruction?

A1

In Hong Kong, English language is taught as a major subject in both primary and secondary schools. Most government and aided primary schools adopt mother tongue as the medium of instruction (MOI) in the teaching of subjects other than the subject of English Language. Whereas in secondary schools, under the fine-tuned MOI arrangements implemented from Secondary 1 since the 2010/11 school year, schools are allowed the flexibility to adopt school-based MOI arrangements with regard to their individual school circumstances. Secondary schools’ MOI arrangements have become diversified with appropriate teaching strategies devised to address student's learning needs. Some international schools and Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS) schools adopt English as the medium of instruction for most subjects.

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Q2

Apart from international schools, what other schools in Hong Kong admit non-Chinese speaking children?

A2

Most of the schools in Hong Kong adopt Chinese as the medium of instruction for most subjects. Therefore, admission of non-Chinese speaking children will be made on a case-by-case basis. All mainstream schools will admit non-Chinese speaking children. For enquiries, please contact the Regional Education Offices.

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Q3

Which schools in Hong Kong use Putonghua as the teaching language?

A3

Many local primary and secondary schools have Putonghua lessons, and a small number of them even adopt Putonghua as the medium of instruction.

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E. Others

Q1

Can the government offer a school place for my child near my residence?

A1

For placement to primary schools, our staff at the Regional Education Offices will make placement arrangement based on the district of residence of the applicants and vacancies of schools. For placement to secondary schools, certain flexibility can be exercised and "cross-district" arrangement will be considered. Our staff at the Regional Education Offices will make placement arrangement in accordance with the residential district of the applicants and the availability of school places as far as possible.

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Q2

My child has got very good academic results and I hope to find some schools specialized in nurturing gifted students for him/her. Does Hong Kong have such kind of schools? Are there any services for grooming gifted students?

A2

For enquiries concerning the education services for gifted students, please contact the Gifted Education Section at Tel: 3698 3472.

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Q3

How can parents and the public search for information of individual schools?

A3

Parents and the public can access the information of the schools at our Regional Education Offices, The school information has also been uploaded to "School Profiles" at the website of Committee on Home-School Co-operation.

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Q4

If some families have financial difficulties and are unable to pay the kindergarten fees, what can they do?

A4

Families with financial difficulties can apply for fee remission. Eligible applicants must be Hong Kong residents who are studying in registered kindergartens and have not applied for the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA). They should also have reached the age of 2 years 8 months at this time when they are enrolled in the kindergarten. Otherwise, they can only make application until they reach the age of 3. Parents who wish to apply for fee remission for their children can obtain application forms and guidance notes from the kindergartens/child care centres in which their children are studying. Applicants should return their completed application forms together with relevant supporting documents to Student Financial Assistance Agency (SFAA) through the kindergartens/child care centres concerned. Children currently in receipt of CSSA of the SWD need not apply on their own for the Voucher Scheme. The SWD will attend to the applications and refer them to the SFAA for further action. For details, please call SFAA at Tel: 2802 2345.

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Q5

The financial burden of purchasing textbooks, paying school fees and travel expenses can be very heavy to some families. Will the government provide any financial assistance to the needy families?

A5

Needy families can apply for textbook assistance, school fee remission and travel subsidy. Eligible applicants must be Hong Kong residents. The application forms are available at the Home Affairs Department. All applications are subject to means tests and require about two months for processing. For details, please call Student Financial Assistance Agency at Tel: 2802 2345.

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Last revision date: 19 June 2014
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