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Foreigner children attend local primary school?

Breinhow (13 posts) • 0

My husband will be affiliated with Yunnan University for the year and I have heard there is a school my kids could attend, but we are waiting for a response. Just trying to find alternatives.

What is Keats?

Is that simply a training center for all ages; not really a school?
Michael2015, what have you enrolled your children in?

JanJal (1242 posts) • 0

Keats School is a Chinese language school. It does not offer any other education than language courses and some Chinese culture related to that.

JanJal (1242 posts) • 0

Failing to put your kids in Chinese public school, your likely options for basic education would be:

- home schooling (there are some existing families/groups doing this in Kunming)

- private/commercial Chinese school (can be pricey)

- Kunming International Academy (pricey)

With these options your biggest challenges may relate to location, if you specifically want in certain area without commuting.

michael2015 (784 posts) • 0

Kids still not enrolled. My catastrophic failure plan is to send everyone back to my wife's hometown/village and put the kids in school there. We already have pre-approval.

As for Yunda - they have many affiliated schools, high schools, middle schools, primary schools, and perhaps even pre-schools - not to mention junior colleges and vocational or trade schools etc ad infinitum.

Depending on your children's chinese abilities (or lack of) - you might want to ask Yunda about putting your children into one of their affiliated schools.

I'm told they're interested in my children attending - but we'll only know when the school year begins - that's sort of the way things roll here - procrastination - then everyone rushes around in a mortal panic to get things done.

These schools are quite far from the city center - so take that into account. it's a LONG scooter, bus, or subway ride.

you should understand - Yunnan's school system is significantly different from the east coast - although they teach roughly the same material - it's the culture and behavior of the classmates, so watch carefully for signs of garbage behavior from your kids.

Our situation is a bit complicated regarding the hukou issue. As for ANYONE even providing any kind of face time - they won't even talk to us - probably because I'm not white - white face very bluntly works wonders. They turn away and hold their hands up - as though I were paparazzi. About the only thing they don't do - is put their fingers in their ears and ramble loudly to block out the noise - they're quite offensive as government servants...but there's obviously a political path that is supposed to be taken - and personal visits seem to be heavily discouraged - as a few other chinese families received the same treatment while we were there.

the problem is - they didn't identify any processes or mechanisms as the education bureau - just a black hole. It's quite possible they don't know - but they absolutely and definitely don't care. Well - ok - they told me to have my employer contact them directly - but my employer told me to go to their office personally - so there's that knowledge of being played by both sides and ultimately orphaned (and yes - exit strategy in process).

Yunnan actually has no known responsibility for expat children and their education - so it's more a matter of policy - or more usually, not.

However - again - as a white face (no offense intended or implied) - your mileage should improve significantly over mine.

I had to write some exceptionally special and complicated letters to gain access to Yunda's schools for my children. I'd be shocked if they even attempted to make you do something similar - and kiss off any assistance from the US Consulate Chengdu - they won't write a letter to the Education Bureau as specified by one of our local school principals...reprehensible is the nicest thing I can say about that. However - again - as "whiteface" - the consulate may treat you preferentially. I've also frequently and personally witnessed that disparaging preferential behavior at the chengdu consulate.

Things are even worse now that they merged the US Citizens section with the Chinese services section...but again - white face works wonders.

JanJal (1242 posts) • 0


Thanks for describing your experiences.

I wonder if you/your kids would have different treatment, if the kids had single (Chinese) nationality, or if you kept the dual-nationality "in secret" from the school authorities?

I'm not from USA, so for us (in distant future) that alone may make things different. Also I'm white as you suspected, and finally our child still only has Chinese nationality - something we are not in hurry to change.

On a note of limited education resources in China/Yunnan, I've heard from a family friend in Dali that for early childhood education they have a (probably flexible) cutting date somewhere in August - kids born after that have to wait for next year before enrolling. Not sure how common that is, but this particular family ran into this when trying to put their child to kindergarten.

vicar (817 posts) • 0

When I have kids I'll be keeping them well away from ANY school and teaching them about modern life and setting them up for business in today's real world.

michael2015 (784 posts) • 0

My wife is not a Kunming hukou - so it's pointless to try to use that influence here, so we ONLY represent the children as US citizens.

Both my retired father and I have personally experienced the "foreigner" worship from locals and it's infuriating - as someone who comes from a turn-based society.

Pre-schools run 3 years - from either 3-4yo until 6-7yo. For pre-school intake - the larger more famous schools make up excuses why they won't take your child as it's basically supply and demand. The smaller pre-schools are much more flexible. As for starting time - I feel that it's more an issue of the child's emotional and behavioral maturity (not including being potty trained, mostly autonomous for basic functions such as eating, sleeping, etc). It's only roughly one year in the stream of life...

IF your child has a Kunming Hukou - you should not have any issues - attendance at primary and middle schools is mandatory and you have priority IF you own real estate in the xiaoqu of the school you wish to attend.

The part of USA where I lived works on the same principle - tax residents (property tax) have priority for locally zoned schools.

JanJal (1242 posts) • 0


Same here, wife does not have Kunming hukou.

But she has stressed to me, that these days provincial hukou is sufficient to grant children access to primary education (up to and including junior high scool) in any city, even without hukou - provided the schools have space in their priorization.

According to what she has heard, only for senior high school (and taking the gaokao), the kids must relocate to the locale of their hukou.

Anyway, personally I'm betting on the hukou reform in general to move further forward by the time our child becomes school age.

alienew (422 posts) • 0

@Vicar: (1) Business?? (2) 'In today's real world' - well, what else can you do? However, by the time they grow up TODAY'S real world will be history, and modern life will be out of date.

They also might benefit from coming into contact with diverse points of view, perhaps in a school (though I'm not sure Chinese schools are too good at this - but then what schools are?), which would help them learn Chinese too.
Best wishes.

JanJal (1242 posts) • +1


"keeping them well away from ANY school and teaching them"

If you meant doing this yourself, you may get other ideas once you have spent a few years taking care of them 24/7, and finally could have someone else do it few hours a day :)

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