March 2 2016

Principal’s Message Mar 2, 16

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. Matthew 7:7-8

Yesterday Harrow International School announced that it was almost doubling its debentures to $5 million. For those without debentures at that school, the capital levy will increase by 20% to $60,000 each year. Interestingly this school is still not charging the highest debenture in Hong Kong; Independent Schools Foundation offers debentures for $6.5 million.

Harrow’s debenture increase announcement came just after Hong Kong International School and Hong Kong Academy reported that they will be raising their fees to $203,500 and $206,500 per year respectively. An annual capital levy, and other fees, are then charged on top of the school fees at both of these schools. This makes the overall yearly cost of education at one of these schools very expensive, and out of the reach of many parents.

Not surprisingly parents are looking to see if sending their child to one of these schools is worth the investment. Everyone wants the best education possible for their child and many would argue that these schools do indeed provide a high standard of quality education. However, many people also see that some schools which have much more modest fees will do an equally, if not better, job of educating their child. But how do you decide, apart from financial considerations, what is the best school for your child?

NIS has had an overwhelming number of families apply to the school this past year. At the Primary School alone we have had well over 200 families apply for entry this past year. In fact we have recently had to close applications as the Primary School is full for next year and we already have a very large wait pool of suitable applicants wanting to come into the school. We have been in the unfortunate position of having to say “no” to many outstanding applicants who are desperate to get their child into NIS.

I have recently had to meet with a lot of families that have been disappointed that their child has not been accepted into NIS. Consistently these families all tell me the same thing; they have looked at other schools throughout Hong Kong and they know that NIS suits their child the best. To me this is the best reason why a family should come to NIS—because NIS’s unique learning environment, culture, and philosophy suit their child better than any other school.

NIS isn’t perfect, but to be honest the high fee charging school’s aren’t either. After talking to other principal’s and other school leaders of these schools, I see that we are all consistently focused on one thing—growing the culture of our schools so that they can best cater for our specific types of families and students. The higher fee charging school consider the beliefs and desires of their families and use their assets to pro-vide an education that caters to these needs. School’s with more modest budgets do the same, knowing that their parent’s have different beliefs and desires as to how to best help their children learn and grow.

What makes a school great is the way in which families support the school and the school supports their families. NIS is the best school for your child if you can see that your child fits into the school better than any other school. Families wanting to get into NIS tell me that they want their child to be at a school that is small, has caring staff, has high academic standards, promotes Christian values, and focuses on growing the character of its children. It is this fit between the culture of the school and the beliefs of your family that I hope make a school perfect for you.

I am excited about the school’s future as we all work together to build a school based on what we value most, and in turn, one which allows our children to grow the best way possible. In this it is important that the school and parents partner together so that we have a clear collective vision of what we want our school to be like, and how we can support each other in achieving our goal.