Expat parents turn their backs on international school system in Hong Kong

An increasing number of expatriate parents are opting to send their children to local Chinese schools, rather than the previously favoured international and private schools. The International schools are becoming inaccessible and more expensive – Harrow International School charges a top-level HK$136,500 (just over £11,500) per year.
There are many schools in Hong Kong that are run by the English Schools Foundation, these are traditionally cheaper for expats than their Chinese contemporaries, due to them being funded by a government subvention. However, in March 2013 the ESF announced they will increase the price of primary school admission by 5.9%, meaning that a typical ESF school place will be priced at hk$70,000.
A third option for expat parents is a place at a government school, which would be free but the child must be proficient in the Chinese language.
Many parents choose to teach their children Cantonese from a very young age and put them, where possible, into a local school to mix with the local native children – not just to save on school fees or develop language skills, but also so the child has friends that do not have expat parents and therefore are likely to move away. Teaching Cantonese from a young age will also increase the child’s likelihood of finding employment and securing a long-term future in Hong Kong or China.
Earlier this year it was reported by the Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/hsbc-new-horizons/china-why-expats-are-heading-east) that the number of expats working in China has risen by 18% in the last five years, growing from 31,160 in 2006/07 to 38,000 in 2010/11. Also according to the article, the largest proportion of expats work in sales and marketing (30%), banking and financial services (25%) and engineering (15%).
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