Quality matters: early childhood education policy in Hong Kong

Nirmala Rao*, Hui Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


This paper critically analyses how the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region has tackled the issue of preschool quality over the past 30 years. Although early childhood education is not part of the publicly funded education system, there is almost universal preschool attendance among three to six year olds. The government regulates, monitors and evaluates early childhood services, and has taken numerous steps to improve the quality of early childhood provision. However, a paradox lurks within government policy. On one hand, the facility-focused and provider-focused regulatory standards for the operation of preschools have been faulted for being too lax; but, on the other hand, policies and incentives have clearly improved the quality of preschool education. These include measures to support the upgrading of serving kindergarten teachers and an emphasis on quality assurance. The implementation of enabling policies is essential to ensure that all children have access to high-quality early education and care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-245
Number of pages13
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • early childhood policy
  • Hong Kong
  • preschool quality


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