Primary and Secondary Schools in Hong Kong

Norwegian International School

Tai Po, Hong Kong
The Norwegian International School is based in Kam Shan Village, Tai Po, Hong Kong, and it was established by the Norwegian Lutheran Mission and the Norwegian Mission Society in 1984. Its initial purpose was to provide education for the children of Norwegian missionaries. In April 2010, NIS made another step in its development, when it invited Generations Christian Education to be the school's sponsoring body. Now the institution is committed to providing globally-oriented, quality education, based on Christian values. It receives 150 children from the ages 1 to 6. The school also offers... See full description.

Primary and Secondary Schools in Hong Kong by City:

Tai Po

About Primary and Secondary Schools in Hong Kong

Historically, Hong Kong under United Kingdom’s rule (1841-1997) patterned their educational system after the UK.  Since 1997, public schools experienced great change in two major areas:  differing instructional language policies and curriculum expectations.  Today, Hong Kong’s education system is more aligned with education offered in China and the United States.

Compulsory education includes primary school (6 years) and junior secondary school (3 years) followed by senior secondary schooling (3 years).   A majority of students also attend kindergarten (K1-K3).      

At the conclusion of senior secondary schooling, the HKDSE (Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education) exam is administered.  Students apply to a wide range of post-secondary, vocational, and tertiary courses offered at many institutions throughout the country.

Primary and secondary schools are overseen by the Hong Kong Education Department (EDB-Education Bureau).  These schools are classified as government, subsidized, or private.  Subsidized schools are administered by charitable bodies.  

Private international schools flourish throughout Hong Kong. The language of instruction and international curricula appeal to the expatriate and local parents.  Tuition is higher than other types of schools. Often in demand, students are placed on waiting lists.

Schools in Hong Kong generally adhere to strict discipline codes.  Students wear uniforms and testing plays a significant role in determining student skill acquisition.   Today, there is a shift towards decreasing the number of exams and increasing continuous formative assessments.

Primary schools assign instruction in the morning or afternoon sessions.  This structure is dictated by lack of space and the large numbers of students. Recently more primary schools have moved towards a full day program impacted by demographic changes and a declining birth rate.

Most schools are open to both genders.  However, there are a number of reputable schools offering single gender instruction.

In junior secondary placements, learning is broad-based without the necessity of students having to choose specific areas of study.  In senior secondary programs, students choose electives, usually 2-3 from a selection of 20 offerings.  Applied learning classes are popular.  

Many of the changes since 1997 have focused on teaching standards and administrative qualifications.  At the early childhood level, these improvements help provide a strong beginning for individual student achievement, pivotal to success at higher educational levels.

Class size (average of 35-45) is usually larger in Hong Kong than in Western countries.  There is discussion that smaller class size is more attainable now as a result of dropping enrollments.  So far, class size has not been significantly altered.

International school students do not take public examinations.  The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a common program at the diploma level.  Many country-specific international schools teach a syllabus, reflecting their country’s curriculum.  Students take the SAT or IELTS to gain admission for overseas university study.

Several reputable direct-subsidy “local schools” offer the IB and the UK GCSE/A levels.  The curriculum is challenging and offers students increased opportunities to gain entry into post-secondary schools abroad.  

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