Study on the Provision of International School Places in Primary and Secondary Levels in Hong Kong

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Study on the Provision of International School Places in Primary and Secondary Levels in Hong Kong

Report

Policy 21 Limited

Commissioned by Education Bureau

December 2012

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter 1 Introduction ...1

1.1 Background ...1

1.2 Study objectives ...1

Chapter 2 Study Methodology ...2

2.1 Approach ...2

2.2 Methodology ...2

Chapter 3 Stocktaking provision of international school places ...5

3.1 Overview ...5

3.2 Fill-up rate...6

3.3 Average class size ...7

3.4 Geographical distribution: School places ...9

3.5 Geographical distribution: Place of residence of students ... 11

3.6 Planned future provision ... 14

Chapter 4 Determinants of Demand: The Household Perspectives ... 15

4.1 Overview ... 15

4.2 Demand for international school places ... 15

4.3 Factors affecting demand for international schools ... 16

Chapter 5 Determinants of Demand: the Business Perspectives ... 19

5.1 Overview ... 19

5.2 Factors affecting demand for international school places ... 19

5.3 Impact on business ... 22

Chapter 6 Projection of demand for international school places ... 26

6.1 Overview ... 26

6.2 Demand from local students ... 27

6.3 Demand from non-local students ... 32

6.4 Projection of total demand ... 35

6.5 Estimating “un-met” demand ... 36

Chapter 7 Adequacy of International School Provision, Remedial Measures and Recommendations ... 39

7.1 Adequacy of international school provision ... 39

7.2 Remedial measures ... 39

7.3 Recommendations ... 40

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Chapter 1 Introduction

1.1 Background

1.1.1 “International schools” is generally defined to embrace schools outside the local education system. For this study, the Education Bureau (EDB) defines international schools as

"those schools offering full-time non-local curricula, enrolling students who do not sit for local examinations". There are 14 schools operated by the English Schools Foundation (ESF), 33 private international schools, and 7 private independent schools (PIS) in the 2011/12 school year (hereafter all references to year refer to “school year” unless otherwise specified). In this study, local students refer to those who are Hong Kong permanent residents (with the right of abode in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) and do not have any foreign passport (except British National (Overseas) Passport).

1.1.2 There has been a significant increase in the provision of international school places in Hong Kong. Enrolment in international primary schools increased from 14,204 in 2000/01 to 17,399 in 2010/11, while total enrolment in all types of primary schools fell from 493,979 in 2000/01 to 331,112 in 2010/11. As regards international secondary schools, enrolment increased from 11,158 in 2000/01 to 14,461 in 2010/11, while total secondary enrolment decreased from 456,693 in 2000/01 to 449,737 in 2010/11.1 It may be worth noting the total non-Chinese population (excluding foreign domestic helpers) in Hong Kong increased from 163,892 in 2001 to 197,022 in 2011 (both expressed in calendar year).2

1.1.3 Despite the increase in the number of places in international schools over the past years, views expressed by representatives of trade commissions, chambers of commerce and businesses point to the difficulties encountered by some expatriate families residing or planning to reside in Hong Kong to find international school places for their children.

1.2 Study objectives

1.2.1 The objectives of the study are as follows:

a) To stock-take the current provision of international school places at the primary and secondary levels in Hong Kong in 2011/12;

b) To project the provision of international school places at the primary and secondary levels in Hong Kong and assess its adequacy for the next five school years (2012/13 – 2016/17); and

c) To facilitate the review of support measures for the international school sector.

1 Census & Statistics Department (2011), Annual Digest of Statistics 2011, Section 12.

2 Census & Statistics Department (2012)

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Chapter 2 Study Methodology

2.1 Approach

2.1.1 The current study involves the stocktaking of the current provision of international school places at the primary and secondary levels in Hong Kong in 2011/12 (Chapter 3), and the projection of future demand and assessment of adequacy up to 2016/17 (Chapters 4 to 7). A mixed method approach using both quantitative data and qualitative information is adopted.

2.1.2. The stocktaking is a straight-forward and quantitative data collection exercise, based on the current and planned provision of places in international schools in Hong Kong as well as new schools or extensions in the pipe-line. As regards future supply, it depends on factors including schools’ decisions to commit new school building and extension projects, views of schools on the optimum class size and the number of classes, technical feasibility, compliance with administrative and legal requirements and Government’s support measures available to them.

Relevant qualitative information on schools’ decisions to expand capacity and Government support measures is required.

2.1.3 Projecting future demand and assessing adequacy is subject to more uncertain variables and is sometimes supply-driven. In the case of international schools, the demand partly comes from children of expatriate families not yet in Hong Kong and partly from aspiration of local students for education provided in international schools. Indeed, the availability of international school places may instill more expatriate families to come to Hong Kong and more local students to turn to international schools and thus stimulating more demand. Qualitative information on preferences of parents of local students for international schools and recruitment plans of businesses is required.

2.2 Methodology

2.2.1 A total of four surveys were conducted in collecting quantitative data and qualitative information from different perspectives, namely the school enrolment surveys, school survey, business survey and thematic household survey.

(1) School enrolment surveys

2.2.2 The EDB has been conducting annual enrolment surveys to collect enrolment statistics of various school sectors, including international schools, ESF schools and PIS at different education levels in Hong Kong. Information gathered in the enrolment surveys includes the following:

a) Supply of school places in terms of class structure and provision of places for each stream;

b) Demonstrated demand in terms of actual enrolment, broken down by grade, gender, age and nationality, for each stream; and

c) Profile of students in terms of ethnicity, language spoken at home and special educational needs, for each stream.

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2.2.3 In the study, time series analysis was conducted on enrolment data. Time series data obtained from successive rounds of the school enrolment surveys covering the period from 2000/01 to 2011/12, provide the necessary information required for projecting the future demand for international school places. The projection is obtained by relating the time series data to say the size of the target population and fitting the relationship derived to mathematical models and extrapolating the models into the future. This is the bivariate time series approach adopted in the study. This will be discussed in greater details in Chapter 6.

(2) School survey

2.2.4 The purpose of the school survey is to collect information on views of international schools on difficulties they have encountered in meeting demand for school places, their plans for expanding current provisions and problems faced. Information collected includes:

a) Admission mechanism for non-local students, in response to the problems raised during discussions with businesses with employees whose children had to attend international schools in securing places in these schools;

b) Past and future plans of expansion or reduction of school places for analysis of past enrolment trends and in projecting future provisions of school places;

c) Problems encountered in increasing the provision of school places; and

d) Views on government support measures for drawing up recommendations to help international schools meet the anticipated demand for school places.

(3) Business survey

2.2.5 The purpose of business survey was to gather views of businesses with employees whose children had to attend international schools offering non-local curriculum. As no information was available on which business establishments had such employees and given the large number of business establishments in Hong Kong, a disproportionate stratified sampling design was adopted by selecting a higher proportion of business establishments in those sectors which are believed to have a higher number of employees who held or were holding employment (working) visas. The sampling scheme adopted in the survey is given in the table below.

Table 2.1: The sampling fraction

Industry group Employment size group

50 or above 10 – 49 Below 10 Total

Electricity, water and gas 31.25% 18.52% 1.83% 4.75%

Manufacturing 58.14% 6.49% 0.05% 2.15%

Import/export, wholesale/retail 25.85% 0.36% 0.01% 0.17%

Transport, storage, courier services, information and communication

52.08% 5.78% 0.30% 2.26%

Financial and insurance services 51.68% 91.03% 0.58% 11.66%

Professional, scientific, technical, administrative services

51.81% 23.98% 0.24% 2.82%

Others 52.03% 3.98% 0.14% 1.87%

Total 46.76% 10.08% 0.12% 1.72%

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2.2.6 The business survey covered a random sample of 6,230 business establishments, of which 3,015 establishments were successfully enumerated. After excluding 267 found to have been closed or moved, the response rate was 51%.

(4) Thematic household survey

2.2.7 The EDB has commissioned the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) to conduct a thematic household survey targeting households with school-age children to gauge qualitative and quantitative information on parents’ education choice for their children, which allows an assessment of the demonstrated or unmet demand for international school places. The survey, with a sample size of 10,000 households, was conducted during the period from February 2011 to April 2011. Information gathered includes:

a) Background information on respondents who were studying, including age, nationality and language spoken at home,

b) Factors affecting the choice of schools;

c) Types of schools attended by respondents who were studying; and

d) For households with members studying in international schools, views on competitive edge of international schools, names of schools attended, time taken for admission and plan for study outside Hong Kong.

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Chapter 3 Stocktaking provision of international school places

3.1 Overview

3.1.1 In 2011/12, there are 20,063 primary school places provided in schools operated by ESF and non-profit-making private international schools and 6,205 primary school places provided in PIS. The corresponding figures for secondary school places are respectively 16,867 and 6,048.

The provision of places between 2000/01 and 2011/12 is set out in Chart 3.1 and Chart 3.2. The overall provision has increased by 58.7% from 30 982 in 2001/02 to 49 183 in 2011/12.

Chart 3.1: Provision of primary school places in ESF schools, private international schools and PIS from 2000/01 to 2011/12

Chart 3.2: Provision of secondary school places in ESF schools, private international schools and PIS from 2000/01 to 2011/12

3.1.2 In the school survey, 61% of international schools reported that they had implemented expansion, redevelopment or relocation projects in the past five years, resulting in an increase in the provision of places. Among these schools, a total of 1,669 places at primary level and 3,817

16,572 17,051 18,190 18,347 18,995 20,196 20,358 19,824 19,251 19,412 19,364 20,063

3,365 3,901 4,934 5,160 5,436 6,205

0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

ESF and private international schools PIS

13,163 13,931 14,714 14,235 14,752 15,633 15,602 15,309 15,626 15,963 16,651 16,867

2,272 2,655 3,895 4,772 5,180 6,048

0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000 16000 18000

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

ESF and private international schools PIS

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places at secondary level had been added. This may account for the increase in places over the past five years in ESF schools, private international schools and PIS.

3.1.3 In this Chapter, the provision will be analyzed in terms of fill-up rate, average class size, geographical distribution and planned future provision through data collected in the student enrolment surveys and school survey.

3.2 Fill-up rate

3.2.1 Fill-up rate is expressed as a ratio of actual enrolment to the number of places international schools planned to provide. It represents an average of fill-up rate in individual schools. Fill-up rate varies among schools. In 2011/12, the overall fill-up rate of ESF schools, international schools and PIS was 89.8%. As illustrated in Chart 3.3 and Chart 3.4 below, the fill-up rate for ESF schools and international schools are fairly stable over the years. On the other hand, once the PIS sector matures, its places remain highly utilized from 2007/08 especially at primary level. On the other hand, some school places were not utilized. In 2011/12, there were 26% of primary schools and 48% of secondary schools operating below 81% of their provision (Chart 3.5).

Chart 3.3: Fill-up rate of primary school places in ESF schools, private international schools and PIS from 2000/01 to 2011/12

85.1%

81.9%

79.4% 77.8% 80.6% 80.2% 80.5%

82.2%

83.3% 82.3% 84.9% 85.4%

76.8%

86.3%

94.6% 93.7% 93.4% 94.2%

70%

75%

80%

85%

90%

95%

100%

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

ESF and private international schools PIS

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Chart 3.4: Fill-up rate of secondary school places in ESF schools, private international schools and PIS from 2000/01 to 2011/12

Chart 3.5: Percentage distribution of the average fill-up rate in individual international schools in 2011/12

3.3 Average class size

3.3.1 Based on data on the number of operating classes and actual enrolment of individual schools, the average class size of ESF schools, international schools and PIS at primary and secondary level are estimated in Chart 3.6 and Chart 3.7 respectively. At primary level, the average class size ranged from around 30 for ESF schools to around 20 for private international schools while at secondary level, the average class size of ESF schools was around 27 and that for both private international schools and PIS was about 20. Similar to the fill-up rate, there are significant differences in the average class size in different schools (Chart 3.8), possibly in response to the nature of curriculum and demand from applicants.

79.0%

74.3%

70.3% 74.2%

76.5% 77.8% 79.6% 81.1%

79.9% 78.3% 78.7% 81.9%

53.4%

82.6% 85.6%

80.6% 84.9% 82.2%

50%

55%

60%

65%

70%

75%

80%

85%

90%

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

ESF and private international schools PIS

6% 10%

0%

10% 10%

56%

6% 6% 3% 6%

33%

19%

31%

0% 3%

10%

20%

30%

40%

50%

60%

50% or less 51% - 60% 61% - 70% 71% - 80% 81% - 90% 91% - 100% 101% or above Primary Secondary

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Chart 3.6: Average class size at primary level in ESF schools, private international schools and PIS from 2000/01 to 2011/12

Chart 3.7: Average class size at secondary level in ESF schools, private international schools and PIS from 2000/01 to 2011/12

Chart 3.8: Percentage distribution of the average class size in individual international schools in 2011/12 28.4 29.2 28.7 28.4 28.6 29.0 28.6 29.6 29.7 29.8 29.8 29.9

24.4 25.7 25.8 25.7 25.8 27.0 20.1 20.6 18.6 17.5 17.9 19.1 18.7 19.2 19.7 19.0 20.1 20.5

15 20 25 30 35

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

ESF PIS Private international schools

26.1 26.1 26.1 25.7 26.7 26.8 27.4 28.0 27.5 27.3 27.6 27.4 23.6 23.4

22.0

21.2 21.9

20.6

19.3 20.9

19.0

18.5 19.7 19.8 20.1 19.9 19.5 18.7 19.0 19.4

15 20 25 30

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

ESF PIS Private international schools

12.5%

20.8%

31.3% 33.3%

2.1%

22.2% 25.0%

30.6%

22.2%

0.0%

0%

5%

10%

15%

20%

25%

30%

35%

Less than 16 16 - 20 21 - 25 26 - 30 31 or above

Primary Secondary

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3.4 Geographical distribution: School places

3.4.1 In general, international school places are provided on a territory-wide basis.

Understanding geographical distribution helps determine the most suitable location for setting up or reprovisioning of international schools. In 2011/12, 54.3% of the total international school places are on Hong Kong Island, 25.4% in Kowloon and 20.3% in the New Territories.

3.4.2. At the primary level, about 51% of places are provided on the Hong Kong Island, 26%

in Kowloon, and about 24% are located in the New Territories in 2011/12 (Table 3.1). More students are enrolled in international schools located in Hong Kong South, followed by Hong Kong East, Wong Tai Sin/Kowloon City/Yau Tsim Mong combined and then Sha Tin/Sai Kung combined (Map 3.1).3

Table 3.1: Geographical distribution of international school places at the primary level in 2011/12

District Provision of places Enrolment

Hong Kong Island 13,376 50.9% 12,321 51.5%

Kowloon 6,691 25.5% 6,055 25.3%

New Territories 6,201 23.6% 5,527 23.1%

Total 26,268 100.0% 23,903 100.0%

Map 3.1: Number of students enrolled in international primary schools in 2011/12

3 To protect confidentiality of data related to individual schools, districts are merged to ensure that there are at least three schools located in the districts or merged districts concerned.

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3.4.3 At the secondary level, about 58% of places are provided on the Hong Kong Island, 25% in Kowloon, and only about 17% in the New Territories in 2011/12 (Table 3.2). There are also more students enrolled in international schools located in Hong Kong South, followed by Sham Shui Po, Kowloon City, Wanchai, Sha Tin/North District combined and Eastern District (Map 3.2).4

Table 3.2: Geographical distribution of international school places at the secondary level in 2011/12

District Provision of places Enrolment

Hong Kong Island 13,316 58.1% 11,478 57.5%

Kowloon 5,790 25.3% 4,973 24.9%

New Territories 3,809 16.6% 3,496 17.5%

Total 22,915 100.0% 19,947 100.0%

Map 3.2: Number of students enrolled in international secondary schools in 2011/12

3.4.4 There are variations between districts in the fill-up rate and the average class size (Table 3.3). The fill-up rate is higher on the Hong Kong Island at primary level but in the New Territories at secondary level. The average class size, on the other hand, is higher for schools in Kowloon and the New Territories, at respectively 25.8 and 25.7 at primary level for example, as compared with 23.2 for schools on the Hong Kong Island.

4 To protect confidentiality of data related to individual schools, districts are merged to ensure that there are at least three schools located in the districts or merged districts concerned.

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Table 3.3: Percentage of provision of international school places taken up and the average class size in 2011/12

District Fill-up rate5 Average class size

Primary Secondary Primary Secondary

Hong Kong Island 92.1% 86.2% 23.2 22.0

Kowloon 90.5% 85.9% 25.8 23.6

New Territories 89.1% 91.8% 25.7 21.1

All districts 91.0% 87.0% 24.3 22.2

3.5 Geographical distribution: Place of residence of students

3.5.1 When comparing the geographical distribution of school place and place of residence of students, it is noted that there involved cross-district travelling in attending schools in other districts among some students studying in ESF schools, private international schools and PIS. At primary level, apart from those living on the Hong Kong Island, a considerable number of students live in Lantau, Shatin, Sai Kung, Kowloon City and Yau Tsim Mong where there are relatively less international school places (Map 3.3).6, 7 Students who live and study in the same catchment area in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and New Territories are 58%, 46% and 85%

respectively (Table 3.4).

Map 3.3: Place of residence of students enrolled in ESF schools, private international schools and PIS at primary level in 2011/12

5 The fill-up rate in this table is expressed as the quotient of total enrolment and total number of places in international schools.

6 To protect confidentiality of data related to individual schools, districts are merged to ensure that there are at least three schools located in the districts or merged districts concerned.

7 Information in respect of 19.7% of students is not available.

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Table 3.4: Percentage distribution of international primary school places by district of residence of students in 2011/12

Location of schools

% distribution by district of residence of students Hong

Kong Island

Kowloon Sha Tin, Tsuen Wan,

Kwai Tsing

Other parts of New Territories

Outside Hong Kong

Unknown8 All districts Hong Kong

Island 58% 4% 0% 4% 0% 33% 100%

Kowloon 10% 46% 15% 20% 0% 10% 100%

New

Territories 1% 14% 24% 61% 0% 0% 100%

3.5.2 The distribution on the place of residence among students at secondary level is similar to that at primary level: apart from those living on the Hong Kong Island, Kowloon City and Sha Tin, a significant number of students live in Lantau and Sai Kung (Map 3.4).9,10 Students who live and study in the same catchment area in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and New Territories are 50%, 37% and 73% respectively (Table 3.5).

Table 3.5: Percentage distribution of international secondary school places by district of residence of students in 2011/12

Location of schools

% distribution by district of residence of students Hong

Kong Island

Kowloon Sha Tin, Tsuen Wan,

Kwai Tsing

Other parts of New Territories

Outside Hong Kong

Unknown8 All districts Hong Kong

Island 50% 4% 1% 5% 0% 40% 100%

Kowloon 5% 37% 14% 25% 0% 18% 100%

New

Territories 2% 9% 30% 43% 0% 15% 100%

8 Caution should be taken in interpreting the above figures owing to high proportions of unknown cases.

9 To protect confidentiality of data related to individual schools, districts are merged to ensure that there are at least three schools located in the districts or merged districts concerned.

10 Information in respect of 29.9% of students is not available.

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Map 3.4: Place of residence of students enrolled in ESF schools, private international schools and PIS at secondary level in 2011/12

3.5.3 The above shows that the provision of international school places does not completely correspond to the demand in terms of district. Some parents choose to send their children to attend schools they preferred even though these schools are located far away from home. In particular there are indications that there is a shortage of international school places in the New Territories. This may be demonstrated by comparing total enrolment by the location of schools with the number of students by the location of their residence (Table 3.6). Despite a concentration of international school places (54.3%) on Hong Kong Island, only 31.6% of the total international school student population resides on the Hong Kong Island. The proportion of students residing in the New Territories (about 30%) is higher than that enrolled in schools in the same area (around 20%).

Table 3.6: The number of students by location of international schools with the number of students by the location of their residence in 2011/12

No. of students By location of schools

(% to total)

By location of residence (% to total)

Hong Kong Island 23,799 (54.3%) 13,853 (31.6%)

Kowloon 11,028 (25.1%) 6,757 (15.4%)

New Territories 9,023 (20.6%) 12,547 (28.6%)

Outside Hong Kong -- 10 (0.02%)

Unknown -- 10,683 (24.3%)

Total 43,850 43,850

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3.6 Planned future provision

3.6.1 According to the school survey, 37% of international schools indicated that they planned to implement expansion, redevelopment or relocation projects that would result in over 6,000 additional places in the coming five years. Among these schools, 76% would add a total of 2,177 places at the primary level, and 82% of schools would add 4,078 places at the secondary level (Table 3.7).

Table 3.7: Planned provision of international school places in 2016/17

School years starting Provision of places

2011 2016 Increase

Primary 26,268 28,445 2,177

Secondary 22,915 26,993 4,078

Total 49,183 55,438 6,255

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Chapter 4 Determinants of Demand: The Household Perspectives

4.1 Overview

4.1.2 This chapter presents the views of parents of local and non-local students on their aspirations of and preference for international school places. The views are mainly collected from the thematic household survey where views of parents of students studying in schools offering local curriculum (i.e. local schools) and those studying in international schools on factors affecting their choice of schools were gauged. Employees of Hong Kong companies were also asked, through the business survey,11 to indicate the relative importance of factors affecting their choice of school places for their children in Hong Kong. Other findings in the business survey will be detailed in Chapter 5.

4.2 Demand for international school places From students currently attending local schools

4.2.1 There were 2,353 (or 0.3% of total number of students) students studying in local primary or secondary schools who had ever applied for international school places in Hong Kong.

1,066 of them had applied for international school places at the primary level and 1,287 at the secondary level. 273 students (11.6% of those who had ever applied) were waiting for admission to international schools.

4.2.2 About 2,770 (accounting for 1.6% of all students concerned) students attending local kindergartens or nursery schools in Hong Kong had ever applied for admission to Grade 1 in international primary schools in Hong Kong. On average, one student had applied for 1.49 international schools. Among them, 59.7% (1,655 students) were successful in their applications.

Amongst which, about 34% had waited for less than 6 months for admission after submitting their applications. The waiting time was 6 to 12 months for 32% of students and 1 to 2 years for the remaining 34%.

Table 4.1: Waiting time for admission to Grade 1 in international primary schools

Waiting time Local students

No. %

Less than 6 months 563 34.0

6 – 12 months 529 32.0

1 year - < 2 years 563 34.0

Total 1,655 100.0

From students currently attending international schools

4.2.3 Compared to students studying in local schools, about 72% of them had waited for less than 6 months after submitting their applications before they could be admitted and a further

11 Care has been taken in interpreting the survey findings in light of significant non-response from employees participated in the survey.

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26% had to wait for 6 to 12 months (Table 4.2). It is observed that local students had waited for a longer period of time when compared to non-local students. This is probably because local students could afford to wait for a long period of time or can lodge their applications for admission earlier. For non-local students, they would have to come to Hong Kong before they can submit their applications for admission, and hence the waiting time they can afford is shorter.

Table 4.2: Percentage distribution of students by waiting time for admission

Waiting time for admission Total Less than

6 months

6 months to <1 year

1 to 2 years

2 to <3 years

3 years or more

Local students 70.0% 28.0% 0.7% 0.0% 1.4% 100.0%

Non-local students 100.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 100.0%

Total 71.7% 26.4% 0.6% 0.0% 1.3% 100.0%

4.3 Factors affecting demand for international schools Factors affecting the choice of schools

4.3.1 Parents of families with children attending schools at the secondary level or below were asked in survey to rate the level of importance of factors affecting their choice of schools for their children. Factors were rated from “1” to “6”, with “1” denoting “most important” and “6”

denoting “least important”. The findings (Table 4.3) revealed that “quality of teaching staff” and

“reputation” were considered more important; “tuition fee” and “prospect of graduates” were considered least important.

Table 4.3: Percentage of parents by perceived importance of factors affecting choice of school

Factors % giving the score of Mean

score

1 2 3 4 5 6 Total

Most important Least important

Location 22.3 16.4 17.6 15.9 18.3 9.4 100.0 3.20

Curriculum 15.5 20.8 23.0 21.9 11.6 7.1 100.0 3.15

Quality of teaching staff 30.8 29.4 18.6 13.1 5.6 2.4 100.0 2.40

Reputation 23.0 21.3 20.0 20.7 9.8 5.2 100.0 2.88

Prospect of graduates 5.9 8.4 12.6 21.3 37.1 14.7 100.0 4.19

Tuition fee 2.4 3.6 8.3 6.9 17.6 61.2 100.0 5.17

4.3.2 A comparison of the views of parents of local children attending local schools, local students attending international school and non-local students is set out in Chart 4.1. Parents of non-local students, most of whom were attending international schools, in general accorded a higher level of importance to “location” (with a mean score of 2.25), “curriculum” (2.48) and

“tuition fee” (3.44), and considered “prospect of graduates” (5.21) and “reputation” (4.08) less important. Parents of local students attending in international schools, on the other hand, considered “tuition fees” (5.07), and “location” (4.02) less important as compared to “curriculum”

(2.47), “quality of teaching staff” (2.40) and “reputation” (2.89). Parents of local students attending local schools also considered “quality of teaching staff” and “reputation” more important and “tuition fee” less important.

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Chart 4.1: A comparison of the views of parents on the importance of factors affecting choice of school

4.3.3 Views of employees of Hong Kong companies who were holding employment visas or who were naturalized persons were also sought on the relative importance of factors affecting their choice of school places for their children in Hong Kong. As shown in Table 4.4, more than half of them considered “prospect of graduates” (63.7%) the most important factor, followed by

“quality of teaching staff” (65.8%) and “curriculum” (63.3%).

Table 4.4: Percentage of respondents by relative importance of factors affecting choice of school

% of respondents

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th

Refuse to answer

Location 1.3 1.6 2.3 1.0 92.7 0.9 0.2

Curriculum 2.2 21.0 63.3 10.8 2.2 0.2 0.2

Quality of teaching

staff 23.8 65.8 9.4 0.1 0.8 0.0 0.2

Reputation 7.8 0.5 21.3 64.9 0.4 4.9 0.2

Prospect of graduates 63.7 2.6 1.4 22.5 1.1 8.6 0.2

Tuition fee 1.9 8.3 1.8 0.3 2.4 85.0 0.2

Competitive edge of international schools

4.3.4 How parents view international schools is also a factor affecting demand for international school places. In the thematic household survey, views of children studying in schools at the secondary level or below were sought on their perceived competitive edge of international schools. As shown in Table 4.5, more than half of the parents of local students attending international school considered the “more flexible, interactive learning and not rigid”

approach (52.8%) and “opportunities to improve English proficiency” (52.6%) were the competitive edge of international schools. For parents of non-local students, more than half of

4.02 2.47

2.40 2.96

4.07

5.07

3.15 3.18 2.41

2.89

4.21

5.16

2.25 2.48

3.54 4.08

5.21 3.44

1 2 3 4 5 6

Location Curriculum Quality of teaching staff Reputation Prospect of graduates Tuition fee

Non-local students Local students in local sch Local students in intl sch

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them considered “better bridge to education systems overseas” (88.6%), the “more flexible, interactive learning and not rigid” approach (71.6%), “to help children to establish better interpersonal network for the future” (60.2%), “more independent thinking” (60.2%), “better learning atmosphere” (60.2%) and “more relaxed learning and less pressure” (60.2%) were the competitive edge of international schools.

Table 4.5: Percentage of parents by competitive edge of international schools

Local students in international schools

(%)

Non-local students (%)

More flexible/interactive learning/ not rigid 52.8 71.6

More independent thinking 17.3 60.2

Better learning atmosphere 18.7 60.2

More relaxed learning/ less pressure 23.3 60.2

To improve English proficiency 52.6 0.0

Better teaching staff 14.6 0.0

Better bridging to educational systems overseas 16.6 88.6

Better job opportunities/prospects 0.7 0.0

To help children to establish better interpersonal network for the future

4.2 60.2

Extensive curriculum 2.1 0.0

More creative learning 0.0 0.0

Curriculum/educational system would not frequently change

3.4 0.0

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Chapter 5 Determinants of Demand: the Business Perspectives

5.1 Overview

5.1.1 This chapter presents the views of businesses collected from the business survey,12 including on the number of staff currently recruited or relocated or planned to recruit or relocate from outside Hong Kong, company’s measures to help children of staff with employment visas to attend international schools in Hong Kong, factors affecting decisions on business expansion in Hong Kong or relocation to places outside Hong Kong, and the impact of the provision of international school places on businesses.

5.2 Factors affecting demand for international school places Employees with employment visa and naturalized employees

5.2.1 About 4% of business establishments enumerated in the survey were currently employing staff with employment visas in Hong Kong (totalled 71,840), and about 10.8% of them had employees who were naturalized residents of Hong Kong previously holding employment visas (totalled 26,605). In both cases, the percentage was higher for large establishments (with employment size 50 or more) and lower for small and medium enterprises (SME) with employment size smaller than 50 (Tables 5.1 and 5.2). On average, each of these business establishments employed 5 staff with employment visas and 2 naturalized staff.

Table 5.1: Business establishments having full-time staff with employment visas

SME Large Total

% with no such staff 96.4% 83.0% 95.5%

% with such staff 3.1% 15.2% 4.0%

Average number of staff 3 13 5

% indicating don't know/refuse to answer 0.5% 1.8% 0.6%

Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

Table 5.2: Business establishments with full-time staff with employment visas previously but have become Hong Kong Permanent Residents

SME Large Total

% with no such staff 88.9% 78.3% 88.2%

% with such staff 10.2% 18.1% 10.8%

Average number of staff 2 3 2

% indicating don't know/refuse to answer 0.9% 3.7% 1.1%

Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

12 As the response rate of the business survey is 51%, care should be taken in interpreting the survey findings which may be subject to significant non-response bias.

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Number of school-age children

5.2.2 As far as family background of these employees is concerned, 21.6% of employees with employment visas had school-age children and each employee had 1.58 children on average (Table 5.3). Among employees who were naturalized persons, 80.6% of them had school-age children and each employee had 1.24 children on average.13 While 55.9% of these employees had school age children (under the age of 21), it is uncertain whether all of them brought or would bring their children with them.

Table 5.3: Statistics on the number of employee with employment visas / naturalized persons with children and the average number of children per employee

Employee with employment

visas

Naturalized persons

Total

(a) Total no. of such employees 5,685 7,895 13,580

(b) No. of employees with school age children (% to (a))

1,226 (21.6%)

6,364 (80.6%)

7,590 (55.9%) (c) Number of school age children (i.e. under 21) 1,934 7,902 9,836

(d) Average number of child(ren) 1.58 1.24 1.30

Length of stay

5.2.3 For companies that had recruited or relocated staff from outside Hong Kong, or planned to do so in the coming 6 months, the usual length of stay for such staff was below 3 years (accounting for 61% of companies concerned) (Table 5.4).

Table 5.4: % of business establishments that have recruited/relocated or plan in the coming 6 months to recruit/relocate staff, including staff with employment visa, from outside Hong Kong

% SME Large Total

% that have not recruited and will not recruit in the

coming 6 months 96.8 76.3 95.3

% that have recruited or will recruit in the coming 6

month 4.1 26.9 5.6

% recruited or will recruit by length of stay in Hong Kong for such staff

Below 3 years 62.3 59.3 61.0

3 – 5 years 6.0 4.2 5.3

More than 5 years 8.7 2.7 6.3

Not fixed 14.3 29.2 19.2

No information provided 38.1 13.6 30.0

Don't know/Refuse to answer 0.7 0.5 0.7

Total 100.0 100.0 100.0

13 Quite a number of business establishments contacted refused to provide the relevant information given the sensitivity of information related to individual employees concerned. Care should be taken in interpreting the figures.

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Company’s measures to help find international school places

5.2.4 It is found that only 0.7% of business establishments had measures to help their staff with employment visas recruited or relocated from outside Hong Kong find international school places (Table 5.5). The percentage was much higher for large establishments (9.1%) than for SME (0.1%). In terms of the proportion of staff with employment visas who were employed by companies with such measures, 6.6% of these employees were supported by its company in this regard. The most common arrangement adopted having a special in-house unit to help staff find international school places.

Table 5.5: Proportion of business establishments with measures to help children of staff with employment visas to find international school places in Hong Kong

% SME Large Total

No measure taken 96.3 85.2 95.6

Yes, the measures were (multiple responses) 0.1 9.1 0.7

Special in-house unit to help 14.7 94.6 85.9

Hire relocation consultants to help 7.5 3.0 3.5

Corporate debentures of such schools 10.4 1.8 2.8

Others 36.5 1.6 5.4

No comment 3.6 5.7 3.7

Total 100.0 100.0 100.0

% of staff with employment visas employed by companies with such measures

3.6 8.7 6.6

5.2.5 For education allowance, only 0.9% of business establishments provided education allowance to employees’ children in attending international schools, or 14.6% of staff with employment visas received such allowance (Table 5.6). It is noted that more than half of SME with education allowance provided education allowance to all staff with children attending international schools in Hong Kong. This notwithstanding, it should be noted that 44% of business establishment did not provide any information on education allowance.

Table 5.6: Proportion of business establishments providing education allowance to staff for their children’s attendance in international schools in Hong Kong

SME Large Total

% with no education allowance 99.3% 96.2% 99.1%

% with education allowance, which is payable to 0.6% 3.8% 0.9%

All staff whose children are attending schools offering

non-local curriculum 53.6% 8.0% 39.7%

Average education allowance per child per month $1,037 $1,862 $1,088 Staff recruited or relocated from outside Hong Kong 6.5% 22.6% 11.4%

Average education allowance per child per month $7,360 $3,381 $4,626

Staff employed on expatriate terms 2.% 7.3% 3.7%

Average education allowance per child per month $9,250 $5,802 $6,862

Others 0.5% 3.2% 1.3%

Don't know/Refuse to answer 37.4% 59.2% 44.0%

% indicating no comment 0.0 0.0 0.0

Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

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SME Large Total

Proportion of staff with employment visas employed by companies with education allowance

9.3% 18.2% 14.6%

5.3 Impact on business

Recruitment and staff retention problems

5.3.1 The business survey indicates that about 0.039% of business establishments reported having staff who had resigned and left Hong Kong in the past 12 months because they could not find international school places for their children (Table 5.7). About 0.6% of business establishments failed to recruit in the past 12 months potential candidates who turned down their offer of appointment because these candidates could not find any international school place in Hong Kong for their children (Table 5.8).

Table 5.7: In the past 12 months, whether any staff in Hong Kong resigned and left Hong Kong because they could not find any international school places for their children

SME Large Total

% with no such staff 98.1% 86.8% 97.3%

% with such staff, average number of staff 0.038%, 2 0.062%, 2 0.039%, 2

Employees holding employment visas 11.2% 16.6% 11.8%

Average number of employees holding

employment visas 1 2 1

Naturalized persons 86.8% 20.8% 79.6%

Average number of naturalized persons 2 2 2

Local residents 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

Average number of local residents - - -

% indicating don't know 1.8% 13.2% 2.6%

Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

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Table 5.8: Proportion of business establishments in the past 12 months failing to recruit candidates who turned down the recruitment offer because they could not find any international school place in Hong Kong for their children

SME Large Total

% with no such candidate 97.2% 80.1% 96.1%

% with such candidates, and the average no. 0.008%, 1 8.2%, 1 0.6%, 1

Candidates holding employment visa 54.0%* 66.9% 66.7%

Average number of candidates with

employment visas 1 1 1

Naturalized persons 9.0% 33.0% 32.7

Average number of naturalized persons 4 1 1

Local residents 0% 0% 0%

Average number of local residents - - -

% indicating don't know 2.7% 11.7% 3.4%

Total 100.0 100.0 100.0

* In addition, 37% of respondents did not produce any information.

5.3.2 For those employees holding employment visas or naturalized persons who had or would apply for admission to international secondary schools for their children currently attending primary schools in Hong Kong, about 20% indicated that they and their families would leave Hong Kong if there was no international secondary school place available for their children (Table 5.9).14 On the other hand, if there is a shortage of international primary schools, about half (50.6%) of employees enumerated indicated that they and their family would leave Hong Kong (Table 5.10).15 About 3.6% indicated that they would stay in Hong Kong while their children would attend primary schools abroad.

Table 5.9: Future plans if no international secondary school place was available for their children

% of employees Total

My whole family and I will leave Hong Kong 20.1

My family will stay in Hong Kong and my children will go abroad. 0.0 I will stay, but my spouse and children will leave Hong Kong 0.4

Not decided yet 3.9

No information provided 75.5

Total 100.0

14 Care should be taken in interpreting the finding as it is based on very few sample cases.

15 Care should be taken in interpreting the finding as it is based on very few sample cases.

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Table: 5.10: Future plans if no international primary school place was available for their children

% of employees Total

My whole family and I will leave Hong Kong 50.6

My family will stay in Hong Kong and my children will go abroad 3.6

Not decided yet 16.7

No information provided 29.2

Total 100.0

Factors affecting business decisions

5.3.3 More than half of the business establishments cited availability of staff of the right quality (66.2%), staff cost (64.7%), cost of business accommodation (63.9%) and cost of business support services (60.2%) as very important or important factors (Table 5.11). About 21.6% considered availability of international school places as a very important or important factor, while 43.7% considered this not very important or not important at all. It should be noted that 34.6% did not give any view on this question.

Table 5.11: The level of importance of factors affecting the company’s decision in business expansion in Hong Kong or relocating your Hong Kong office to places outside Hong Kong

% of business establishments Very important

Important Not very important

Not important

at all

No comment

Staff cost 35.2 29.5 5.5 15.7 14.1

Cost of housing for staff 16.6 14.4 21.3 19.2 28.5

Cost of business accommodation 18.3 45.6 16.9 9.5 9.7

Environmental quality (e.g. air pollution) 9.3 35.0 19.0 16.1 20.5 Availability of places from schools

offering non-local curriculum 6.2 15.4 16.8 26.9 34.6

Cost of business support services 9.7 50.5 9.8 9.3 20.7

Government regulatory burden 1.5 42.7 21.9 10.8 23.1

Availability of staff of the right quality 16.4 49.8 7.5 15.5 10.7 Impact of shortage of international school places on business

5.3.4 As far as the impact of the shortage of international school places on their business is concerned, less than 30% of companies having staff with employment visa considered that it would have an impact on their business (Table 5.12). The majority of those responded disagreed or totally disagreed that the shortage of international school places would have impact on their business. On the other hand, some 27.8% fully agreed or agreed that they would have difficulties in recruiting or relocating qualified staff from outside Hong Kong, and some 24.4%

fully agreed or agreed that it would be difficult to retain staff who had problems finding suitable school places offering non-local curriculum for their children.

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Table 5.12: The extent of the agreement with statements related to impact on the company if the staff has difficulties finding school places offering non-local curriculum in Hong Kong for their children

Impact on business Fully

agree

Agree Disagree Totally disagree

No comment Difficult to recruit or relocate qualified

staff from outside Hong Kong 1.3 26.5 28.4 1.1 42.7

Difficult to retain staff who have problems finding suitable school places offering non-local curriculum for their children

1.3 23.1 34.2 1.0 40.3

Slow down the pace of expansion in

Hong Kong 0.5 3.4 55.4 3.2 37.5

Reduce the number of staff in Hong Kong who are recruited or relocated from outside Hong Kong

0.9 6.3 51.5 1.5 39.7

Consider recruiting or relocating staff from outside Hong Kong having no child who has to attend schools offering non-local curriculum

1.1 6.4 51.1 1.5 39.7

Consider relocating to places outside Hong Kong where this is adequate provision of suitable school places offering non-local curriculum

1.0 2.1 46.5 6.4 44.0

Figure

Updating...

References

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