With protests in Hong Kong now reaching past the half-year mark with no signs yet of abating, Bloomberg has reported that some Hong Kong parents are looking at sending their children to Singaporean schools.
While they started as demonstrations against a contentious extradition treaty to China last June, demonstrators later expanded their cause to “5 demands” 1) the complete withdrawal of the extradition bill; 2) a retraction from the government of the characterization of the protests as “riots”; 3) the release and acquittal of protestors who had been arrested; 4) an establishment of an independent commission to investigate police behaviour during the protests and 5) the resignation of the Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, as well as full freedom to elect the city’s Legislative Council and Chief Executive.
On Sunday (Jan 5) around 10,000 people took to the streets in Hong Kong’s Sheung Shui district, a largely peaceful gathering that was marred by violence when police attempted to disperse the protesters. Later in the day, petrol bombs were thrown at Sheung Shui police station, which is less than two kilometers away from the demonstrations.
But Luo Huining, the newly minted director of the Hong Kong Liaison office, China’s highest official in Hong Kong, expressed confidence that the city would return to stability.
“I am fully confident about this,” he said. “Everyone fervently hopes that Hong Kong can get back on track. As President Xi Jinping said in his New Year’s address, without a harmonious and stable environment, how could there be a peaceful home? I sincerely wish Hong Kong and Hong Kongers well.”
But Hong Kong parents, who may be concerned for their children’s safety who have had to face a number of school shutdowns in November, have been looking to Singapore’s international schools as viable educational alternatives. The Bloomberg report quotes one Singapore international school as saying its applications have increased by around 25 percent of late.
The school closures in November prompted renewed interest in Singapore’s schools, especially for parents who are already paying top dollar for education in Hong Kong, where international schools charge a yearly tuition fee of at least S$30,000 for primary grades and as much as S$42,500 for higher levels.
And while international schools in Singapore may charge comparable fees, Bloomberg says that Singapore’s political stability, low crime rate and high educational standards are factors that make it attractive to parents in Hong Kong.
Getting their children enrolled into Singapore’s international school may not be easy, however, given the lengthy waiting lists many international schools here have.
The article cites that the following schools; Singapore American School, French School of Singapore, and Canadian International School have had increased applications from Hong Kong students, though only the French school disclosed how many new students it has accepted.
The article quotes associate professor at Nanyang Technological University’s National Institute of Education, Jason Tan, as saying, “Singapore has a sound reputation internationally in terms of livability. With the current situation in Hong Kong, families are looking to move elsewhere.”