In Hong Kong, mandatory education begins at 6 years old in Primary 1. Before that, you have the option to enroll your child in pre-primary education also known as kindergarten (KG).
The minimum age as of 31 August of each academic year is as below:
K1 (Nursery) – 2 years and 8 months old
K2 ( Lower KG) – 3 years and 8 months old
K3 ( Upper KG) – 4 years and 8 months old
The kindergarten placement in Hong Kong takes place a year before your child starts the K1 class. It means if your child is to start their kindergarten for the year 2021/2022, you will need to start the application between September to November 2020.
Hong Kong academic school year begins in September and ends in June. It’s extremely important that you follow the timeline and procedure strictly to help your child to secure a place in the KG.
Am I eligible for Hong Kong government local scheme kindergartens?
Your child can only be enrolled in HK’s local scheme KGs if he/she is holding a valid registration document.
If your child is a legal HK resident and aged 2 years and 8 months old as of 31st August of the year of admission, then he/she is eligible for the Kindergarten Education Scheme. This scheme includes nursery (K1), lower KG (K2) and upper KG K3 classes.
The government will provide a subsidy in school fees for half day classes in local non-profit making (NPM) KGs. For working parents, full day classes will be offered at an affordable rate. Every KG has different school fees after deducting government subsidies, you may find the full list here. (The fees are changing annually)
How does the kindergarten education in Hong Kong works?
Firstly, apply to the Education Bureau of Hong Kong (EDB) from September to 30 November 2020 for a Registration Certificate (RC) for KG admission.
To apply for the RC, the easiest way is to fill and submit the online form via this link https://eform.one.gov.hk/form/edb005/en/ . Then, you will have to submit the “Duly signed declaration and undertaking” Education Bureau (Address: P.O. Box 23179, Wan Chai Post Office, Hong Kong) within 10 working days.
Don’t forget to provide a valid email address while filling in the online form to receive the acknowledgement email for future reference.
DO NOT MISS THE DEADLINE, otherwise the RC will not be issued to you in time for the KG Centralized Registration Dates.
Wait for the registration document (RC / AP) to be sent to you by post
EDB will need 6 to 8 weeks of processing time to verify your child’s eligibility. After they have verified your application, you will receive a registration document via postage. You will receive RC or if you are not eligible for government subsidy then you will be issued KG Admission Pass (AP).
The RC / AP is generally valid for 1-3 years to cover K1, K2 and K3 if you apply right before K1. The registration document’s validity period will be shortened accordingly to your application date corresponding to your child’s age.
If for any reason you wish to repeat or extend more the KG education more than 3 years, you will have to pay the full school fee without government subsidy.
Second part: While waiting for your RC, start hunting and applying for the right kindergarten
Hong Kong is a diverse city and hence there are lots of different types of kindergarten available. Some points you may want to take in to account of your choice includes :
- Location and convenience
- School fee
- Language medium of teaching
- School cultures ( academic oriented, religious approach, nurturing or learning through play)
- Class sizes
- Mix of local and international students ( Cantonese speaker / Non- Cantonese speaker)
Each kindergarten has their own respective application procedures and interview arrangements. Look for the one that best fits your child and start the application process. Attend interviews at the given time slot and hope for the best! It’s advisable to apply to more than one kindergarten as acceptance is not guaranteed.
Lastly, actual registration with the kindergarten on Centralized Registration Dates
After the interview process, kindergarten will process your application. You will receive notifications of the result by 18 December 2020.
Shall your application is successful, you will receive notification from the kindergarten for the next steps to proceed. You will need your RC to complete the registration and pay for the registration fee.
If your application is unsuccessful, you can refer to the K1 vacancy information which will be posted by EDB around late January 2021. You can then contact the available KG to set up interview arrangements.
Remarks: Please note that upon registration, your RC/ AP will be taken by the KG. Shall you wish to change the kindergarten after registering in a KG, you will have to request the RC / AP from the KG back. The KG will then release the place reserved for your child however your registration fee will most likely not be refunded.
Last but not least, good luck for your kindergarten application!
This is an exciting time for both you and your child. Undoubtedly, kindergarten education is extremely important for our child. I hope this article provides a valuable information to you. For more parenting articles, please click here.
Hong Kong parents, we are looking for you!
We are currently building a centralized database for parents in Hong Kong to submit their insights and review of their child’s kindergarten / school. If you have a child who is currently studying in a kindergarten in Hong Kong, we would like to invite you to fill in this quick survey.
The full link: https://forms.gle/frXZKnKmXkso6jdu6
Your answers will be consolidated to help another parent to understand a school’s profile better. Our goal is to help parents to make a better decision with an insider’s information. We hope to create a school profile database in which all parents can refer to. Thank you for joining this survey.
PRO TIPS: If you’re looking to research more information on school rankings and parent’s review, you can check on the below link:
You may also find this Education Bureau’s website extremely helpful. (for year 2020)
Featured image photo credit to Naomi Shi on Pexels (2018)
Education Bureau of Hong Kong Website