The HKSAR government provides 12 year of free universal basic education to children aged between 6 and 15. This means the government has extended free education to include senior secondary education provided by public sector secondary schools. Concerning non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students, the Education Bureau provides assistance service for them. For latest information, please see http://www.edb.gov.hk/ncs.
Pre primary education
In Hong Kong, kindergartens and childcare centres provide education and care to children from 3 to 6 years old. Moreover, nurseries are responsible to cater for children aged two to three and look after infants from birth to two. They are operated in either full-day or half day services. Information on kindergartens and kindergarten-cum-child care centre can be found at http://chsc.edb.hkedcity.net/kindergarten/
The government provides subsidies to all children aged below 6 , irrespective of their nationalities, studying in pre-primary institutions/kindergartens in Hong Kong. Under the Pre-primary Education Voucher Scheme, children aged from 3 to 6 with Hong Kong resident status are eligible to apply. For more information, please see http://www.sfaa.gov.hk/eng/schemes/pevs.htm#a1 .
For parents in need of financial assistance, there is a Kindergarten and Child Care Centre Fee Remission Scheme provided by the government. The amount of fee remission will differ according to the family income and social needs. Please note that this scheme covers children receiving services in eligible local non-profit-making kindergartens or kindergarten-cum-child care centres. For more information, please see http://www.sfaa.gov.hk/eng/schemes/kinder.htm .
Every Hong Kong resident, irrespective of their ethnic origins, can enjoy these services. It is a form of welfare provided by the government. Enquiry can be directed to the Joint Office for the Harmonisation of Pre-primary services at 2835 2725.
In Hong Kong, parents are required by law to send their children aged six or above to school. Children aged 5 years 8 months or older are eligible to participate in “Primary One Admission System”(POA) in order to apply for a subsidized school place in government or aided schools. The system consists of two stages, the “Discretionary Places Admission” stage and the “Central Allocation” stage.
For information on application methods and procedures, please see http://www.edb.gov.hk/index.aspx?nodeID=1497&langno=1
For the (subsidized & non-subsidized) primary school lists, please see
Apart from primary education, the government also provides free education in subsidized secondary schools from S1 to S6 under the “New Senior Secondary” (NSS) structure. Students participating in the “Secondary School Places Allocation System” (SSPA) can be allocated a subsidized secondary 1 place. Like the POA system, the SSPA system consists of the “Discretionary Places Admission” stage and “Central Allocation” stage.
For information on application methods and procedures , please see
For the (subsidized & non-subsidized) secondary school lists, please see
Alternatives Chinese qualifications
Apart from the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE), students may sit for overseas Chinese language examinations such as the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) or the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) to obtain alternatives Chinese qualifications for further studies.
Edexcel has introduced the new GCSE Chinese 2009 to replace the current GCSE Chinese. The first examination of the new GCSE Chinese was held in May/June 2011. Under the new GCSE, students need to study in a GCSE participating school registered with Edexcel as a sub-centre in order to enter the GCSE Chinese examination via the HKEAA. In the time being, HKEAA is receiving applications from interested schools in becoming Edexcel sub-centres, and new registration details will be announced later. For the latest information, please see http://www.hkeaa.edu.hk/tc/ipe/gce_gcse_igcse/gcse
To encourage Non-Chinese Students (NCS) to study Chinese, reduction of the examination fee of GCSE(Chinese) is offered by the government for eligible school candidates. Details can be found at http://www.edb.gov.hk/index.aspx?nodeID=7732&langno=1
Schools admitting a greater number of non-Chinese speaking children
EDB provided focused support on and special grants to designated schools to help NCS students. Designated schools are primary and secondary schools which admit a greater number of NCS students. For the school list of designated schools, please see http://www.edb.gov.hk/FileManager/EN/Content_3601/contact%20&%20address%20for%20ncs%20schools_e.pdf
Post Secondary Education
The UGC-funded institutions have considered alternative qualifications, such as those of GCSE/IGCSE/GCE (Chinese), in lieu of the general Chinese Language requirement based on HKDSE for JUPAS applicants under specified circumstances verified by the schools. Individual institutions have also set up further details of their requirements, including the alternative Chinese Language qualifications to be accepted and the minimum grading required. For more information, please see http://www.edb.gov.hk/index.aspx?nodeID=6499&langno=1
Vocational Education & Training
For students interested in vocational education, the Vocational Training Council (VTC) offers a wide range of vocational education and training courses to the public. Moreover, VTC has also organized dedicated subvented vocational education and training courses for NCS students. These courses include preparatory courses for trade tests for in-service personnel, full-time certificate/diploma courses for Secondary 3 and Secondary 5 school leavers, applied learning programmes for senior secondary students, and vocational development programmes for youths. For programme information, please see http://www.vtc.edu.hk/em.
Financial Assistance Scheme
The government provides financial assistances to a wide spectrum of people who are in need. Some of them are :
Primary / Secondary Level : School Textbook, Travel , Internet Access Charges Subsidy Scheme
Post-secondary Level : Grant and Loan, Student Travel Subsidy
Designated Evening Adult Education Course : Tuition Fee Reimbursement
For more details and information, please see http://www.sfaa.gov.hk/eng/schemes/index.htm
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