Date
16 December 2017
The mad rush for kindergarten admission interviews is a nerve-wracking experience for both the kids and their parents: Photos: HKEJ, MandyVincent.com
The mad rush for kindergarten admission interviews is a nerve-wracking experience for both the kids and their parents: Photos: HKEJ, MandyVincent.com

Kids suffer as competition for kindergarten places heats up

November is the month for kindergarten admission interviews, an exercise that leaves parents nerve-wracked and their children exhausted and bewildered.

Some parents submit application forms for their children to as many as 15 schools, and it takes a lot of patience, perseverance and time management skills to attend all the interviews, especially when their schedules clash.

Those who only apply for one or two kindergartens are considered “abnormal”. What if none of those two schools accept their kids?

So the normal thing to do is to apply to as many schools as possible. That way, your child is assured of getting at least one place in kindergarten.

A kindergarten principal tells Sky Post that he’s seen one parent taking a child to attend four interviews in one day, which is definitely too tiring for a child under three years old.

Web blogger Mandy says the competition for preschool places is particularly keen this year because of a baby boom in 2012, the year of the dragon. She has enrolled her son to 12 schools.

Mandy says she’ll tell her boy the interviews are just like playing games — someone asks questions and the boy has to answer them the best way he could — so he won’t feel any pressure and he’ll increase his chances of winning a slot.

About 58,400 babies were born in 2012, up 14 percent from 51,400 in 2011, and they’ll be attending kindergarten in September 2015.

According to Isabel Chan, president of Kowloon City’s parent-teacher association, parents apply for as many schools as possible to increase their children’s chances of admission.

Some parents enrol their kids to two kindergartens with a half-day session each. They think that that would prepare them better for a chance to study in a prestigious primary school when they turn six.

Rosa Chow, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Early Childhood Educators Association, says she has seen children who refuse to talk to the interviewer-teachers as they are worn-out after attending so many interviews earlier in the day.

“What’s the point of going to an interview then?” Chow asks.

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