WTF is a skib and what is it doing in Pok Fu Lam??
Think he's now studying at a business school in NY. Roughly US$60k per year for tuition alone
Must be nice for him. Going to guess he didn't make that money from his rap career.
I am a recent graduate of HKIS. While I may no longer be a current student, I am young enough where I’m currently pursuing a higher education degree so my impressions of HKIS from the time I was there to the present day should not be wildly different. I still keep in touch with younger friends/my friend’s siblings so I still have one ear in for the lay-of-the-land.
I also have quite a number of friends from the two other aforementioned schools and I know (or at least know of) people from every major international school in Hong Kong. Many of whom I still keep in touch with. The informational advantage I believe would bring to this discussion is that my opinion is recent and first-hand.
First I should set this straight. HKIS, CIS, and GSIS unequivocally provides the best education money can buy in Hong Kong full stop. Any child would be lucky to attend one of these three schools. I make this claim based on university placements, career placements, testing scores and a hypothetical statistic of mean base salary 10 years from secondary graduation.
[*Although local schools like St. Paul’s/DBS may have higher published IB scores, the students who take the IB program are a subset of the entire student body and there is an internal (competitive) selection process within the local school to be even eligible to enroll into IB. If you made the entire graduating class take the IB exams their scores definitely would be quite a bit lower than what they currently are.]
Having established my claim above, I would say the similarity for the three schools ends there. General sentiments:
American style education (Advanced Placement), expat heavy (although this is changing). Good in sports and extracurriculars, school sends a few kids to play NCAA college sports every year. Large campuses and extremely resourceful. 10-15% of the students can speak Cantonese.
IB program, demographics are 90+% Chinese, parents/grandparents of kids are in the who’s who circles of Hong Kong (e.g. the Li family), the only school of the three where taught Chinese would reach native or resembling native level (Chinese A). Competitive academics, has a satellite campus in Hangzhou. I would say at least half of the students can speak Cantonese.
IB program, small graduating class size, has English and German streams. Demographics are a mix of British/European expats and affluent locals. Competitive academics and academic performance most consistent of the three (as there are less students so smaller distributions). Maybe 1/3 of the students speak Cantonese. I know the least of GSIS as I have simply met less people since it’s a much smaller school.
Getting into the specifics:
I would say that the best way to visualize HKIS is if you plucked a private school straight out of California or New York and placed it in Hong Kong that’s what you get. You get an American style education, enthusiastic participation in sports, extroverted characters, resources and support to develop whatever interest you might have (from Film Club to fashion/textile design to STEM competitions). It is catered for (mainly American) expats and if they pulled their kids from a K-12 in America and relocated to Hong Kong HKIS should be a relatively seamless transition. Many of the parents are expat executives at banks or prominent multinationals in Central.
If you are expecting a Chinese education with Hong Kong standards (presumably for working here in the future) you are missing the point. That is not the design or target demographic. 2/3s to 80% of the graduates leave HK after high school graduation for college and their careers. That said I’d say 80% go to university in the US, 15% UK, Canada, Australia, 5% others (1-2 at most per year for a Hong Kong university).
I’d like to address the misconceptions too - that it’s a missionary school and many kids take drugs. The second point first. While I do not deny the reputation it has in 2008 (when this thread was first created), I strongly believe that it has changed since then. Why am I confident in this statement? Two factors. 1) kids have less disposable income. The days of pre-08 HK in the finance world and now are vastly different. If you trickle down to the kids, the amount of discretionary spending between the two eras are vastly different. 2) more Asian (American) families in the school. At the risk of stereotyping Asian kids raised in Asian families would be much less likely to dabble with drug usage whether through family values or academic expectations. Imagining HKIS as a school with 50 Skibs is definitely not true in 2021. For me to say that it doesn’t exist would be foolish (in fact for *any international school); but I can confidently say that it is definitely much, much less common.
Regarding the first point. HKIS does have a missionary heritage from the school’s founders but it is definitely not a missionary institution. There is the Church of All Nations where a sub-set of families attend regularly in Repulse Bay, but it is a separate entity from the school. Activities and publications within the school are secular in nature. I even took a Biblical Studies class as an elective class; it was not taught by a minister nor is its purpose to convert students to Christianity. Rather it was an objective and academic interpretation of the Old and New Testament.
I could do a write-up of the other two schools if anyone is interested.
In one sentence, you’d see HKIS kids at the American Club, CIS kids at the Aberdeen Marina Club, GSIS kids at the HK Country Club, and ESF kids at the Football Club. From that you could probably infer the backgrounds, families and social circles.
P.S. If you are wondering about which school has the best university placements google "[school] academic profile". Look for the College Matriculation section. The three aforementioned schools are the only schools in Hong Kong where they can consistently place Oxbridge and US Ivy League/T10. Other schools may have the occasional Harvard/Cambridge placement but credit would go to the talent of the student whereas these three schools have support system and culture to place year-after-year.
Last edited by schoolthrowaway; 08-03-2021 at 10:56 PM. Reason: Added postscript