By law, children aged 6-15 are required to attend a registered school.
See p48 of the Education Ordinance where it states:
(1) Where it appears to the Permanent Secretary that a child is not attending primary school or secondary school without any reasonable excuse, the Permanent Secretary may, after making such inquiries as he considers necessary, serve upon a parent of the child an attendance order in the specified form requiring him to cause the child to attend regularly as a pupil the primary school or secondary school named in the attendance order.
So, to those who may say something along the lines of…
“Locals can’t homeschool. However, the EDB turns a blind eye to expats because expats cant enrol their kids in local schools.”
…the law is the law! It’s quite ridiculous to claim that a person may evade arrest/prosecution for a crime based on their race and/or nationality.
So, although it isn’t exactly illegal to homeschool, it is illegal to do so without ‘reasonable excuse’.
To claim or not to claim ‘reasonable excuse’?
Some homeschooling families ‘fly under the radar’. That is to say that they simply don’t send their children to school. This is a risk, as one family discovered when a neighbour reported them having noticed their boy never goes to school. If caught, the EDB is far less likely to look kindly on your situation and invoke their powers to require attendance at a school.
A few cases have been reported in the press where parents have been issued with an attendance order for failing to send their children to school. The most recent case is that of Kung Lai-kwan whowas found guilty of failing to comply with an Education Bureau attendance order to send her daughter, Sze Po-yee, 14, to school.
To start a claim, contact the Non-Attendance Cases Team
A representative will be assigned to your case and visit your home and meet your child(ren). S/he will interview your child (depending on their age) and investigate what program you are following. If you subscribe to a formal curriculum, it will be easier to satisfy the requirements.
A few suggested ‘reasonable excuses’:
1) Child has some sort of (mild) learning disability, such as dyslexia that traditional schools do not have the resources to cater for.
2) Homeschooling will provide continuity if choosing to leave HK in the near future.
3) The only school(s) close to home are Chinese-medium, which presents language issues.
4) The allocated/convenient school is not compatible with spiritual beliefs and values.
Each case is different and is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
If you satisfy the officer that you are choosing not to send your child to school with reasonable excuse, the case office will monitor your family closely. During this time, you will not be required to send your child to school.
According to Cam Cheung, as of 11 April, 18 homeschooling families are registered with the EDB and subject to regular home visits.
The government is considering some sort of approval letter to such families and will continue to exercise flexibility towards homeschoolers.
If you’re thinking of homeschooling, contact: