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Provision of international school places


Date of Meeting: 6 June 2001

Asked by : Dr Hon YEUNG Sum

Replied by : SEM

Question :

It has been reported that, due to a shortage of places in schools under the English Schools Foundation and other international schools, some foreign professionals abandoned their plans to come to work in Hong Kong after they had failed to secure for their children such school places. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:

  1. the supply and demand position of international school places in Hong Kong in the past three years; and

  2. the plans to ensure a sufficient supply of international school places for the children of expatriate professionals working in Hong Kong?


Madam President,

a. International schools refer to schools which offer a non-local curriculum. The provision of international school places and enrolment in the past three years are as follows:

School year School Places Enrolment
1998/99 29 600 23 500
1999/00 29 600 23 900
2000/01 29 700 25 200
b. The Government conducts annual surveys on the provision of international school places and the actual enrolment.

While it can be seen from (a) above that the overall provision of international school places in Hong Kong is adequate, the demand is unevenly distributed. The more popular schools have a long waiting list.

With China's imminent accession to the World Trade Organization and as the economy recovers, we envisage an expansion of the expatriate community and in turn, an increasing demand for international school places. In view of the lead time for construction of new schools and the difficulty of projecting the demand for international school places of various national curricula, the Government is taking active steps to increase the provision of good quality, non-profit-making private independent schools (PISs) which can cater for the needs of both expatriate and local students. International school operators are also encouraged to run them. Non-profit-making PISs are eligible for land grants at nominal premium and capital grants (up to 100% of the cost of building a standard design primary or secondary public sector school of the same student population) for the construction of school premises. They may offer a local or non-local curriculum, such as the International Baccalaureate or other national curricula, with the study of Chinese language, Chinese history and culture being part of the core curriculum. Five PIS applications were approved in the past two years, of which two are expected to begin operation in the 2003/04 school year.

We will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate action to ensure that the education needs of our expatriate community are properly met.
Last revision date: 06 June 2001
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