Hong Kong’s Primary and Secondary Education Systems

Choosing the right school for your child is so important and the first thing to understand is the different curricula that the International Schools of Hong Kong offer.  The trend is to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) but there are also schools that follow the English system and some that follow the curriculum of their home country.

If your child attends an IB school, you can expect that they will follow an internationally recognised curriculum which results in qualifications that are highly regarded at universities and organisations around the world.  The IB is available to children from the early years although not all Hong Kong schools offer it at this stage and the transition can occur at the start of primary or secondary school.  A child who studies the IB will leave school with six core subjects, three studied in depth, and three to a slightly lesser intensity.  The subjects have to include  their own language, a second language, maths, one science, one humanity and one other subject of their choice.  The outcome  is a well rounded child whose education will enable them to study internationally and it is a system that lends itself well to children who may live in different countries during their academic career.

The English curriculum is also a very popular option and it suits parents whose children may not spend their whole academic career in Hong Kong.  The qualifications at 16 years old are IGCSE’s which have to include maths, English, a humanity, two sciences, a creative subject and then a subject of their own choosing and a child will study on average 10 subjects.  The system is internationally recognised and understood and well regarded and is used by highly regarded schools including Kellett and Harrow.  The IGCSE then leads to the A-Level examinations where initially four or five subjects are studied in the first year resulting in AS certificates, and then focus is given to three of four in the second, resulting in A Level certificates in those subjects.

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The American system which is used at Hong Kong International School prepares students for study in North America and the examinations used are SAT’s.  This is the ideal option for parents who are from the US and who wish their children to continue in the US at a later date.

Finally the Hong Kong curriculum is based on the English system and students only take one set of exams once they’ve finished their education and just before they enter university   This curriculum is more suited to students who will study at universities and colleges in Hong Kong.

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