Education in Hong Kong

School system in Hong Kong

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The education system in Hong Kong follows very closely that of the UK. Children go to kindergarten for 3 years, then on to primary school for 6 years, followed by 5 years of secondary school (3 years in lower secondary, 2 years in upper secondary) at the end of which they get the HKCEE - the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (which is the equivalent of the GCSE exams), and then a 2 year matriculation course which results in the HKALE - Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (equivalent to the UK A levels). After that they can go on to tertiary education for their degrees and so on. All local schools require children to wear uniforms.

The main criticism often leveled at the Hong Kong education system is one that many feel applies to many Asian systems of education; they tend to earn by heart as opposed to being encouraged to thinking dynamically and working things out for themselves. They are encouraged to learn by memorising and then repeating what they've learned word for word, parrot fashion. Critics claim this does not help children become the leaders of tomorrow, but this seems to have worked in Hong Kong.

Types of Schooling

The following are the different types of schooling available in Hong Kong:

Comprehensive government schools

These are by far the most common type of school in Hong Kong. They are funded by the government and are run in conjunction with various charitable as well as religious organisations of different denominations.

Direct Subsidy Scheme schools

When a non-government (i.e. privately-run) primary/secondary school achieves a high enough standard of results it has the option of joining the DSS.

This means that they are eligible for certain subsidies from the government in order to enhance the quality of their academia while retaining the right to decide on their own fees, entrance requirements and curriculum.


For higher education, here a list of Universities available in Hong-Kong, all very good and well-known:

  • The University of Hong Kong (HKU), founded in 1910:
  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), founded in 1963:
  • The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), founded in 1991:
  • Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), founded in 1956. HKBU was granted full university status in November 1994:
  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), founded in 1972, & granted full university status in November 1994:
  • City University of Hong Kong (CityU), founded in 1984, granted full university status in November 1994:
  • The Open University of Hong Kong (OpenU), founded in 1989. Full university status was granted in 1997:
  • Hong Kong Shue Yan University (SYU), founded in 1971, granted university status in 2006. SYU was the first private university in Hong Kong:

Update 8/04/2010


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