Responding with Compassion and Urgency, YCIS steps up its Social Responsibility in Challenging Times

Click here to read the full article on South China Morning Post (SCMP).

As a non-profit organisation, Yew Chung International School (YCIS) has had a long history of committing all its resources to nurturing globally competent and compassionate leaders under its unique educational philosophy. This is evident through the school’s Co-Principal model, the Fellowship-in-Residence, professional teams for university guidance and counselling, continuous upgrade of facilities and learning spaces, and many more.

Established in 1932, YCIS has in the past 88 years pioneered in many areas of education development. It was the first to implement Play-based learning in Hong Kong in the 1970’s, had established the Co-Principal Model since 1996, and recently introduced the innovative concept of Learning Communities. 

Having Christian values at the centre of its work, YCIS believes it is the moral duty of everyone to support those who are most in need. YCIS has been supporting students in need while recognising outstanding achievers through a range of tuition support schemes available to both current and prospective students. The school has provided extra support for families in need without fail during the SARS outbreak in 2003, financial crisis in 2008 and the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. 

YCIS’s response to the Outbreak: Special Financial Assistance Scheme (SFAS)
 

In light of the significant challenges brought by the Covid-19 outbreak, YCIS is offering tuition fee assistance to parents of existing students through the Special Financial Assistance Scheme (SFAS). The SFAS provides up to 25% of tuition fee assistance or deferrals for eight months from April to December 2020. The situation has meant that the school has ear-marked a finite fund to support parents on a first come, first served basis. Through this scheme YCIS has now been able to support almost 400 families whose parents have lost their employment or suffered catastrophic financial loss. 


To stand in solidarity with parents and the wider Hong Kong community, the school has decided not to increase tuition fees for the academic year 2020-21. Members of the senior management have taken an immediate pay cut starting this month, and all staff salaries will be frozen for the academic year 2020-21. The SFAS was made possible by the introduction of these measures.  

YCIS has also been working hard to mitigate the challenges to adapt to e-learning and teaching that have been brought by the school suspension. “The message we want to get across is that this is school as normal, with not a single lesson missed, especially for Secondary students,” says Martin Scott, Education Director and Executive Principal of YCIS. To supplement the school’s existing E-learning programme, plans have been made for Saturday schools and Summer school. As the school start date has yet to be announced, these measures may be extended to the next academic year if necessary. 
 
Since the launch of the SFAS, YCIS has received an overwhelming number of applications. The school has so far supported almost 400 families whose parents have lost their employment or suffered catastrophic financial loss. YCIS is grateful to have received a donation of HKD300,000 from a Year 5 parent from the Primary Section. “I hope this can inspire other capable parents to do the same thing to support the YCIS community," explains the parent, who wishes to remain anonymous. YCIS believes this generous donation truly embodies the spirit of care and compassion at the heart of the school’s values.
 
Scholarships for Current and Prospective Students 
 

YCIS is one of the few international schools to reserve funds annually to offer scholarships with full or partial tuition fee exemption to both current and prospective secondary school students. The school wishes to celebrate the outstanding achievements and contributions of students with four types of scholarships: Overall Achievement, Art & Design, Music and Performing Arts and Sports. 

Tuition Fee Assistance Scheme (TFAS) and Bursaries 

Conscious of the urgent need for greater access to education, YCIS has dedicated funds to support current and prospective students who satisfy the school’s means-based assessment, and demonstrate good academic performance and positive involvement in the school and in society. Current students are supported through TFAS and prospective students can apply for bursaries. 

Christian Missionary Benefit 

As a Christian-based school, YCIS is keen to support children from Christian missionary families to receive quality education at the school. The benefit includes scholarships and special tuition fee assistance. 

Chief Officer Recommendation Scheme
 

To nurture a new generation of compassionate leaders, YCIS has launched the new Chief Officer Recommendation Scheme (CORS) to award local students who have demonstrated good character and attitude through membership of a uniformed organization. Students must be recommended by their Chief Officer of a Uniformed Organization for Youth in Hong Kong, such as The Hong Kong Adventure Corps, Hong Kong Red Cross, Boys Scout and Girl Guides. Their parents will also need to be supportive of YCIS’ educational philosophy.

Principal Recommendation Scheme 

YCIS has also launched the Principal Recommendation Scheme (PRS) for prospective students applying to study at the YCIS’ Secondary Section. The applicant, who demonstrates outstanding achievement in their studies and/or in extra-curricular activities, must be nominated by a Principal from a list of specially selected local primary schools in Hong Kong. Through the PRS scheme, the school hopes to work collaboratively with other educators in Hong Kong, sharing new pedagogies and resources to enhance professional interaction in education. 

YCIS offers various types of scholarships including sports

YCIS is acutely aware that the past year has brought immense stress to parents and educators across Hong Kong, and wishes to reaffirm its steadfast commitment to supporting communities in difficult times. “We have a responsibility to provide a diverse learning environment welcoming students from all backgrounds,” says Dr Betty Chan Po-king, YCIS CEO and School Supervisor. YCIS continually reviews its range of tuition support schemes and is committed to educating a new generation of students who are globally competent, compassionate and lead with a servant’s heart.