Public schools

Public schooling in Hong Kong

Expats who would like to expose their children to Hong Kong´s public schools are fortunate to have excellent schools currently being targeted by the government´s reform efforts. However their children should have a high level of fluency in Cantonese.

Public schools

As part of its education reform efforts, the government has introduced two financial programs: the Private Investment Scheme (PIS) and Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS). These programs are designed to provide local Hong Kong schools with funds that they can use to upgrade academic programs and facilities to be more competitive with the popular International and English Schools Foundation (ESF) schools.


In theory, this should provide you with a great many more options when selecting schools for children. In reality, it will only benefit a child if he is proficient in Cantonese. This unfortunate irony means that majority of international and expat students will likely remain in the private school system for the foreseeable future.

If your child is fortunate enough to speak Cantonese, DSS and PIS schools allow him to integrate into the traditional Hong Kong school system, with its Forms, Bands, and Exams. Since DSS and PIS schools are local, they are subject to the government´s education reform plan. The goals of this plan include additional English language teaching and movement away from the traditional system of Forms and Bands. DSS and PIS schools are also much cheaper than the International schools in which most expat children are educated.

As part of its education reform efforts, the government has introduced two financial programs: the Private Investment Scheme (PIS) and Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS). These programs are designed to provide local Hong Kong schools with funds that they can use to upgrade academic programs and facilities to be more competitive with the popular International and English Schools Foundation (ESF) schools.


In theory, this should provide you with a great many more options when selecting schools for children. In reality, it will only benefit a child if he is proficient in Cantonese. This unfortunate irony means that majority of international and expat students will likely remain in the private school system for the foreseeable future.

If your child is fortunate enough to speak Cantonese, DSS and PIS schools allow him to integrate into the traditional Hong Kong school system, with its Forms, Bands, and Exams. Since DSS and PIS schools are local, they are subject to the government´s education reform plan. The goals of this plan include additional English language teaching and movement away from the traditional system of Forms and Bands. DSS and PIS schools are also much cheaper than the International schools in which most expat children are educated.

Does this article help?

Do you have any comments, updates or questions on this topic? Ask them here: