30 Sep, 2021
10 : 00
Nearing its 90th anniversary, Yew Chung Yew Wah Education has inaugurated a broad scholarship programme aimed at recognising and celebrating academic excellence and talent. It also seeks to create opportunities for outstanding students from diverse backgrounds to enjoy the benefits of a quality international education. The Yew Chung Yew Wah Scholarship Programme invites Grades 7-13 students from around the world to apply.
The award categories underscore our school motto: Align with Science and Technology, Culture and Arts, Love and Charity. They will recognise students’ academic and leadership skills as well as their level of community engagement. Holistic education is part of this package as the group places strong emphasis on critical thinking and character development along with academic prowess. Yew Chung Yew Wah is committed to shaping the next generation of compassionate leaders who embrace a positive change-oriented global perspective.
The scholarship programme, which focuses on discovering students’ unique talents and skills, has three award categories: The Madam Tsang Chor-hang Memorial Scholarship; the Yew Chung Yew Wah Subject and Talent Award; and the Yew Chung Yew Wah IGCSE/ IB/ A Level Award. Each of the categories recognises achievements in academics, art and design, music, the performing arts, and sports. Community engagement is an important part of this mix.
The programme represents our quest for a diverse and socially responsible community, a vision set out 90 years ago. Students will be provided with quality academic and career guidance. This, it is believed, will empower them initiate positive change in the school, society and the world.
We caught up with Dr Esther Chan, Deputy CEO (K-12 Education) of Yew Chung Yew Wah Education, to learn more about the scholarships, her expectations, and the long-term impact of this initiative.
Dr Esther Chan
Deputy CEO (K-12 Education)
Yew Chung Yew Wah Education
Dr Chan oversees and manages the operation of the network’s K-12 schools.
She was born in Hong Kong SAR and attended YCIS Hong Kong from kindergarten to secondary before gaining a bachelor’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She received a master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, and later picked up a PhD at the University of Cambridge where her area of research was the development of private education in China.
Dr Chan joined Yew Chung Yew Wah Education in 2013 and was promoted to Deputy CEO in 2020.
How did the network-wide scholarship idea come about? What’s the plan?
Dr Chan: In the lead up to the 90th anniversary celebration, we hope to allocate more resources to support students from less privileged backgrounds to help them benefit from a quality education. Meanwhile, the scholarship programme aims to recognise the high achieving students and celebrate their skills and hard work.
Some of our schools had already launched their various scholarship programmes. YCIS Hong Kong has had a programme for over 20 years, and YWIES Guangzhou and YWIES Shanghai Lingang launched their programmes in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
The initiative also honours the long-term commitment made by my grandmother, Madam Tsang Chor-hang, who would not turn students away because of their family background.
The scholarship programmes have not merely helped students financially, but also provided opportunities for our students to engage with the community and develop collaboration and leadership skills.
Positive reinforcement is a well-known concept in psychology. We hope the scholarship will motivate students to make progress and pursue excellence continuously.
All scholarship award categories, despite having their own emphasis, aim to recognise students who have upheld the school’s vision and values and committed to pursuing excellence. What makes a student stand out as a whole? What are some of the traits shortlisted students would need to demonstrate?
Dr Chan: We have a strong emphasis on students’ character development. The first line in our Mission, Principles and Practices reads: We believe that the core purpose of education is character formation. It symbolises our desire to help students become ethical, accountable and socially conscious.
As such, we place a strong emphasis on students’ holistic development when it comes to selecting the scholarship candidates. We trust that all children are unique, and education should help them develop physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and socially, with balanced all-round development.
In addition, more and more labour intensive tasks that are repetitive and simple are accomplished using automation and technology with the development of artificial intelligence.
Under these circumstances, schools should be more committed to cultivating future-ready students who will be equipped with skills that are not replaceable by automation. Creativity, critical thinking, perceptual, cognitive and collaboration skills, as well as global perspectives, are some of the things that can’t be replaced by technology. It is these traits that make human beings unique. These are all important factors in evaluating scholarship candidates.
There are three award categories: The Madam Tsang Chor-hang Memorial Scholarship, the Yew Chung Yew Wah Subject and Talent Award and the Yew Chung Yew Wah IGCSE/ IB/ A Level Award. What sets each apart from the other?
Dr Chan: Our Mission, Principles and Practices says, “We believe that each child is unique, with innate talents and gifts that should be nurtured to the fullest potential”. One of the YWIES teachers, Ms Charley Eddolls, who participated in our Teacher’s Day event also added: “I think the teacher’s role is to bring out what is already in the student”. Education is a key to unlock the inherent ability of each individual.
These three award categories are shaped around students’ individual talents and skills.
We celebrate those who have performed outstandingly in music, art and design, and sport, and students who are strong in language, humanities, maths or science. We also recognise students who make a significant contribution to the school and our community. This recognition helps further develop students’ areas of expertise and brings fresh energy and diversity to the school.
The scholarship emphasises that award recipients ‘give back’ to the school. What positive changes are we hoping our students would bring?
Dr Chan: Community service is one of the Yew Chung Yew Wah traditions. We place strong emphasis on how students serve their family, peers, school and the community.
We have launched the Service Learning programme this year – blended into our early childhood, primary and secondary curriculum – leveraging real-life experiences to impact our students.
Inspired by the global fundraiser ‘Terry Fox Run’, our students at YCIS Shanghai managed a ‘Make a Difference Run’ for a couple of years. In this, students ran along Century Park in Shanghai to raise funds for children who are born with congenital heart defects. Many parents also joined these fundraisers.
Two years ago, some YCIS students initiated the ‘Seed Coffee’ campaign to help coffee production companies in Yunnan discover new business and innovation opportunities.
Some other YWIES Guangzhou students got involved in an interesting project to design and make a rubbish bin with a 3D printer. They planned to refine current waste separation with new designs based on their own observations.
Through Yew Chung Yew Wah Education, we encourage children to be grateful to parents and teachers and others around them and to give back to society in their own way.
Students who have received scholarships are high achievers and they would be able to take a bigger responsibility in bringing positive change among peers, in school and within society.
At the school level, they are to use their skills and knowledge to enrich our learning with insights, and motivate others to join them in serving the school community.
Externally, they would use their capacity to serve others in need. In past years, our community has served vulnerable groups including the elderly under hospice care, cancer patients and children from less privileged backgrounds.
After all, students learn compassion, giving back, and future planning in the process. Students who have been organising these campaigns are also picking up leadership skills.
In addition to the financial reward, will the scholarship programme develop a more robust system to provide sustained support for students’ future academic and career development?
Dr Chan: This is our direction of development. We are hoping to create equal educational opportunities for all outstanding students of all backgrounds through financial support.
Upon joining us, prospective students – and this also applies to our current students – will benefit from our integrated education fusing Chinese and Western culture, co-curricular activities, and creative and socially conscious community service programmes. This supports their learning and development.
Meanwhile, ‘advocating for diverse intellectual development’ is one of our goals where we provide student-centred learning opportunities for youngsters to thrive.
From a long-term perspective, what impact will the scholarship programme have on our schools?
Dr Chan: We are hoping to use the programme as a platform to amplify the Yew Chung Yew Wah mission and vision by taking on the responsibility of cultivating the next generation of socially conscious leaders who embody critical thinking and leadership skills.
As we face myriad challenges and complex international developments in the 21st century, we welcome students of all backgrounds to join us and learn to respect and appreciate other cultures.
We nurture our Chinese students to be rooted in our country, whilst having a global perspective. Our expatriate students learn to understand and appreciate China and the Chinese culture so they can act as connectors between their home countries and China, together working to build a common humanity.
Scholarship Programme Frequently Asked Questions
Q：What types of awards are included in the scholarship programme?
There are three award categories: The Madam Tsang Chor-hang Memorial Scholarship (overall achievement award), the Yew Chung Yew Wah Subject and Talent Award and the Yew Chung Yew Wah IGCSE/ IB/ A Level Award. These awards are dedicated to recognising students who have demonstrated outstanding performance in academic and other areas.
Q：Who can apply?
All internal and external Grades 7-13 students are eligible to apply for the scholarship. The Madam Tsang Chor-hang Memorial Scholarship is open to all Grades 7-10 students; the Yew Chung Yew Wah Subject and Talent Award is open to all Grades 7-13 students, and the Yew Chung Yew Wah IGCSE/ IB/ A Level Award is open to all Grades 10-13 students. All external applicants are required to apply for admission and complete a Centre for Education and Monitoring evaluation and Chinese Proficiency Test before submitting a scholarship application.
Q：How will applicants be assessed?
The selection panel will assess the scholarship candidates based on a 60/40 essential and desirable criteria weighting. To qualify, applicants are required to meet all essential criteria, while demonstrating critical thinking, leadership and spirit of community service. For the complete list of essential and desirable criteria, please click here for details.
Q：What is the award amount for these scholarships?
Our programme will offer a reduction in the percentage of tuition fees. The Madam Tsang Chor-hang Memorial Scholarship recipients will receive a 50%–100% tuition fee exemption for up to four years; the Yew Chung Yew Wah Subject and Talent Award recipients will receive a 25%-50% tuition fee reduction for up to one year; and the Yew Chung Yew Wah IGCSE/ IB/ A Level Award recipients will get a 50%–100% tuition fee reduction for a minimum of two (up to a maximum of four) years. The selection panel will conduct an annual review of students who have been in the scholarship programme for over a year. Please contact your school for details.
Q：Will the selection criteria at each campus be different?
All schools will adopt the same overall weighting framework, except for the minimum selection criteria threshold, which will be at the discretion of each individual school.
For details including full scholarship selection criteria, procedures, and documents required, please visit here for more details.(Implementation details of the scholarship programme between schools may vary. )