Education in the Market Place: Hong Kong’s International Schools and their Mode of Operation

Yoko Yamato

2003, 117 pp.

ISBN 10: 962-8093-57-6;
ISBN 13: 978-962-8093-57-1

HK$50 (local), US$8 (overseas)

Published by the Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC)


Worldwide, international schools have been a neglected focus for research. This is partly because in most countries they serve minority groups and are separate from the mainstream. In Hong Kong, however, international schools form a sizeable sector of growing importance. Most of Hong Kong’s international schools serve local residents as well as foreign nationals.This book presents the first detailed academic study of the sector. It highlights the significance of market forces, and shows how the international schools have responded to changing circumstances. Although Hong Kong is small in area, it hosts a wide diversity of types of international schools. The study thus makes instructive comparisons of systems within the small territory. In the process, the book makes important methodological contributions to the field of comparative education.Yoko Yamato initially studied in Japan and Singapore, and then graduated from the MEd programme in comparative education at the University of Hong Kong. She is a mother of three children, each of whom has studied in different types of international schools in Hong Kong. Her studies of international schools have been recognised as pathbreaking contributions to the field.

Foreword by Mark Bray

Chapter 1. Introduction
1-1: Status and changing roles of international schools in Hong Kong
1-2: Background of the recent trend
1-3: Definition of terms
1-4: Research questions and frame work

Chapter 2. Conceptual Framework
2-1: Education and the market place
2-2: International schools in the world context and Hong Kong
2-3: Education and private cost
2-4: Locating this research in the wider field

Chapter 3. Data Collection
3-1: School visits and data collection as a parent
3-2: Documentary study plus questionnaires
3-3: Interviews of principals
3-4: Limitations of research methods
3-5: Dilemmas as a researcher and a parent

Chapter 4. Findings and Data Analysis
4-1: Local vs. international schools: what are the differences?
4-2: Institutional identification by different aspects
4-3: School fees and private expenditures
4-4: Nationality matters: who are local students?
4-5: Crisis in the international schools sector
4-6: Summary

Chapter 5. Conclusion
5-1: Methodological contributions
5-2: “English” education: a marketable commodity in Hong Kong
5-3: A spin-off of the Mother tongue education policy
5-4: Lesson from the sudden closure of an international school
5-5: The international schools sector: fast moving and fast changing
Note on the author