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Supply and demand for places in international schools


Date of Meeting: 5 December 2001

Asked by : Hon Yeung Yiu-chung

Replied by : SEM

Question :

Regarding the supply and demand of international school places in Hong Kong, will the Government inform this Council of:

  1. the number of international schools in each of the past five academic years;

  2. the number of students who were Hong Kong permanent residents and its percentage in the total number of students in these schools, in each of the past five academic years;

  3. the international schools which have long waiting lists, and of the solutions to this problem; and

  4. the new measures to encourage school sponsoring bodies to set up more international schools?


Madam President,


The number of international schools (Note 1) in the past five school years is as follows-

School year Number of schools
1997/98 42
1998/99 43
1999/00 43
2000/01 45
2001/02 44



Through its annual questionnaire survey, the Education Department (ED) gathers information on, amongst others, students' nationalities, from international schools. Students who do not hold any foreign passports are classified as "local students" in the survey. ED does not gather separate statistics on the number of Hong Kong permanent residents studying in international schools.

According to the survey mentioned above, the number of local students studying in international schools, and its share in the total number of international school students in the past five school years are set out below-

School year School places Total number of students Number of local students Percentage
1997/98 29350 23520 1610 6.8
1998/99 29300 23270 1930 8.3
1999/00 29300 23660 2460 10.4
2000/01 29730 24980 2880 11.5
2001/02 30970 26420 2950 11.1

At present, ten non-local curricula are available in international schools in Hong Kong (Note 2). ED conducts an annual survey to gather information from international schools on, amongst others, the class structure, provision of school places and the number of students. Based on the findings, ED will project the demand for international school places in the coming years. In recent years, the overall provision of international school places is able to meet the demand. According to the 2001/02 school year statistics, there are school places available in each category of non-local courses for students with a genuine need. Although some international schools may have a longer waiting list due to their popularity among parents, most of the students on the lists are already studying either in local or other international schools. If there is an established demand for a particular curriculum, the Government will allocate school site at nominal premium and provide an interest-free loan to the sponsoring body for construction of an international school.

d. To encourage sponsoring bodies to provide diversified curricula for local and foreign students, the Government has been encouraging different modes of school operation in recent years, e.g. private independent schools. In the past three years, the Government allocated a total of seven school sites for operation of private independent schools. Four of them will offer the International Baccalaureate programme or other non-local curricula to meet the educational needs of local and foreign students.
  (Note 1) In this reply, international schools refer to primary and secondary schools which offer non-local curricula. Schools which only offer matriculation courses are not
  (Note 2) The curricula are British, the United States, Japanese, Canadian, French, Australian, Singaporean, Korea, German and International Baccalaureate.
Last revision date: 05 December 2001
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