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Your Definitive List of Schools Strong in Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua)

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

If you’d like your child to be bilingual (Chinese/English), the obvious choice is a ‘local’ school.

However, these schools are mainly Cantonese Medium of Instruction (MOI). More and more are slowly introducing more Mandarin but this is supplemental to the Cantonese. Plus, the English in these schools is usually taught as a second language.

In a typical international school, Mandarin is taught as a language subject - sometimes every day (but not always) - and is designed to cater for a range of abilities, including those with absolutely no previous exposure to Chinese.

We’re not interested in Cantonese! Many parents are more keen on Putonghua (Mandarin). If they are not Chinese or from the Mainland or feel that Cantonese is easy to pick up, a school with Cantonese MOI is usually not preferred. Parents also prefer a more international style of teaching, perhaps according to an international curriculum too. More skills and less stress! The bad news is that very few schools are offering this!

Our list of schools below (organised alphabetically) make the cut as they teach IN Chinese (as a MOI), not merely Chinese language lessons.

These schools will mostly :

  • set (much) more homework, even in primary

  • be less diverse (few non-Chinese families choose these schools)

  • prioritise academics over sports or other extra curricula activities

If you are interested in discussing how your child can enter one of these schools, please get in touch; we have placed many, many children into these schools over the years.

Key: P = Primary; PS = Primary and secondary; TC = Traditional Chracters; SC = Simplified Characters

Bloom KKCA Academy | P |SC | Shek Kip Mei

A new entrant, students at Bloom learn to care deeply about themselves, their community and the world around them via a dual language program with Mandarin w/simplified characters and English.

Canadian International School | PS | TC | Southern

CDNIS introduced a new Bilingual Track in 2021/22. Starting in Early Years 1, 50% of the class time will be in English and 50% in Mandarin Chinese. Students will be immersed in the target language for the entire school day. The English and Chinese teachers will teach on alternate days. All classes will also have a bilingual educational assistant, who remains with the same class and switches language each day. This program is currently offered in EY1/2 and Prep classes and will extend to G5 one year at a time.

G1 Dictation
G1 Dictation

Chinese International School | PS | TC | Braemar Hill

A well-established, highly regarded through school. It therefore follows that it is extremely competitive. This was first school to teach an international curriculum using English and Putonghua (50/50); they refer to it as dual language with two teachers – one English, one Chinese in the class most of the time.

Reopened in 2020, this is a Christian school offering the Canadian curriculum, using the Alberta Programs of Study. The medium of instruction is approximately 65% English and 35% Chinese (Mandarin with traditional characters). Follows the Alberta English-Chinese Bilingual model and teaches Maths in Chinese as well as one other subject.

Dalton School Hong Kong |P | TC | Kowloon (Moving to HK Island for the AY2024/25)

Dalton School Hong Kong, opened in 2017  as a non-profit, child-centered, dual language (English/Putonghua) primary school integrating the heritage of Chinese culture and traditions with the progressive Dalton Plan. Immersion approach with a difference - two and a half days spent learning in Chinese and the other half in English.

Guidepost Academy of Innovation | P | Causeway Bay

Guidepost has taken over Chinese Academy Primary School, CAPS, opened in 2017, as of AY2023/24.

Han Academy| PS | SC | Aberdeen

Han Academy is a private school opened in Hong Kong in 2017/18 offering an excellent Chinese program, supported by an international curriculum. 

In primary, the main teaching language is Putonghua (80%) with English (20%) with an emphasis on excellent science and maths. The language balances out at upper primary, with secondary being mostly in English.

Chinese International School
Chinese International School

Established in 2003. Immersion. English 30% / Putonghua 70% in Foundation Year (=Year 1 = K3). All teachers are native speakers.

The balance of English/Putonghua adjusts slowly until it reaches 50/50 at G5 and is reversed at Upper Secondary.

Amazingly impressive campus; IB school (MYP/DP). As a Private Independent School, at least 70% of students must be HK Permanent Residents.

The school has a kindergarten and children do receive priority in the admissions process.

The International Montessori School offers an individualised and enquiry-based educational programme using the successful and proven Montessori curriculum.

IMS is the only accredited Montessori Primary School in China and offers an integrated and concept based curriculum delivered through a dual-language programme in English and Putonghua.

Invictus School Hong Kong | PS | TC/SC | Tseung Kwan O, Chai Wan

The only bilingual IEYC/IPC school in Hong Kong with an English and Mandarin curriculum designed and adapted from the UK National Curriculum and the HK School-based Chinese Language Curriculum.

Kiangsu Chekiang Primary School | P | TC | North Point

The first school to use Putonghua as the medium of instruction. Follows the local curriculum and occupies an old campus without facilities. The school fees are very low and the Chinese program is very strong. The English – up to an hour a day – is taught by non-native teachers and would need supplemented.

The school has a kindergarten and children do receive priority in the admissions process. No debenture.

Kingston International School | P | TC | Kowloon

A small private school with a small campus comprising of a few houses joined together.

An IBPYP school using a dual language approach.

Children from the preschool enjoy priority entry into primary. Feeds into International College for Secondary which is not bilingual.

Po Leung Kuk Choi Kai Yau | PS | TC | Kowloon

The students are mainly from Cantonese speaking families and the school uses Cantonese in P1 to teach Chinese. Thereafter, Chinese is taught in Putonghua.

The English teaching is strong, all taught by native English speaking teachers.

As a Private Independent School, at least 70% of students must be HK Permanent Residents. No debenture.

Singapore International School | PS | SC | Aberdeen

Designed for Singaporeans. Whilst the Putonghua is strong, the written Chinese is simplified characters. Most subjects are taught in English with only around 20-25% of time spent on Chinese.

Victoria Shanghai Academy | PS | TC | Aberdeen

Fully accredited for IB; impressive campus opened in 2008. Two teachers – one English, one Chinese in the class most of the time. In Primary, one double English and Chinese immersion class each week with two teachers. Class size is rather large at 28-29.

Socially, Cantonese is the dominant language among students and parents and some ECAs offered in Cantonese.

At Secondary, most teaching is in English for the MYP program.

As a Private Independent School, at least 70% of students must be HK Permanent Residents. No mandatory debenture.

Yew Chung International School | PS| TC/SC | Kowloon

Founded in 1932, YCIS provides a bilingual focus and unique elements that are fundamental to the overall operation of the school.

Following the framework of the UK National Curriculum, Chinese and Western Co-Principals create a school culture where Eastern and Western values and education models are equal, resulting in students graduating with the IB Diploma.

Most subjects are taught in English with around 20-25% of time spent on Chinese. For

Chinese class, children are streamed by ability – native or Chinese as a Second Language.


Updated Sep 2023 | If you are interested in discussing how your child can enter one of these schools, please get in touch:

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