Hong Kong kindergartens explained: are they the root of city’s education ills?

Apr 11, 2019 by

  • With infants undergoing admissions interviews at just three years old, the rigorous approach to education begins long before children reach the schools usually blamed for it.

Is a happy childhood still possible in Hong Kong? Long days, homework overload and a pressure-cooker-like education system have many calling childhood in the city a nightmare.

Critics have consistently hit out at a culture that promotes rote learning and exams over actual life skills. Two studies last year found half of teachers and secondary students showed signs of depression.

Some point to the tradition of “monster parents”, a worrying archetype of Hong Kong referring to people who put their children through hard grind to produce the best grades.

So where does it all start? Perhaps the problem begins at the preschool level. City Weekend examines.

Kindergartens usually take in children from the age of three, for three years before a child enters primary school at six. Photo: Handout
Kindergartens usually take in children from the age of three, for three years before a child enters primary school at six. Photo: Handout

Surviving the system

Kindergartens usually take in children from the age of three, for three years before a child enters primary school at six. The competition begins even at this stage, since securing a place at a good kindergarten can sometimes increase a child’s chances of getting into a more desired primary school. Even a good nursery beforehand can help gain a place at a famous kindergarten, which in turn sets a child on the right track. Stressed out local parents can often be seen scrambling for a place even before their child is born. It is not uncommon to see them enrolling toddlers as young as two or three onto courses teaching interview skills.

Source: Hong Kong kindergartens explained: are they the root of city’s education ills? | South China Morning Post

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