German Swiss International School

German Swiss International School

name = German Swiss International School

established = 1969
type = Private, international, kindergarten, primary, secondary, vocational, co-educational.
principal = Dr. Jens-Peter Green
faculty = "Not applicable"
enrollment = approx. 1250 [ 1]
free_label = Years
free_text = Kindergarten, Klasse 1-13, Years 1-13, Berufsschule
location = 11 Guildford Road
Hong Kong
information = (852) 2849-6216
website =
p=dé guó ruì shì guó jì xué xiào
lang1_content=Deutsch-Schweizerische Internationale Schule

The German Swiss International School was established in 1969 as the first international school for German-speaking expatriate children in Hong Kong, but also serves local Chinese. It is split into two streams, a larger English Stream and a smaller German Stream. Over the years, it has developed a reputation for excellent academic results.

The school is built on land provided by the Hong Kong government. It had 73 students in its opening year, but now has more than 1,200 students from over 31 different countries.


GSIS is composed of four schools - a kindergarten, a primary school, a secondary school and a "Berufsschule" (vocational training school).

The kindergarten, primary and secondary schools are separated into two 'streams', German and English. Prior to the 2006-2007 school year, the English stream was known as the International stream. It was amended due to concerns over the fact that 'international' suggested that the German stream, in comparison, was not. The German stream follows the German education system, taking the Abitur (German high school exams) in their final year. The English stream students follow the British system, including IGCSEs, A/S- (Advanced Subsidiary) and GCE A-Levels.

Often, there is only one or two classes in the German Stream per year, mainly because the number of German expatriate families in Hong Kong is far lower than the number of Chinese families who choose to send their children to an international school. The English Stream may have anywhere from 2 to 6 classes per year, with more senior Years often having fewer class groups. For example, the largest number of classes Year 13 in the German Stream has ever had is two, whereas Year 7 in the English Stream normally has three.

English Stream

Class divisions are not initially based on academic performance. In the first three years of secondary school, the classes are divided randomly; from the fourth year onwards, students are separated by alphabetical order of their last nameFact|date=July 2007.

The English Stream currently follows the British curriculum. Students take their GCSEs/IGCSEs at the end of Year 11, their AS-Levels at the end of Year 12, and their A-Levels at the end of Year 13. The examining boards are Cambridge and Edexcel, depending on what subject is being taken.

German language

German is an integral part of the curriculum up until IGCSE level (Year 11). This is evident through the additional German exams.

Students are separated into different classes, based on years of German language experience. For example in Year 7, students who studied German in primary school are placed into higher sets, whereas new students are placed into accelerated classes. Divisions occur in Year 8 through to Year 10, and even in Year 11 there may be some movement of students from one set to another, depending on their ability. Students placed into the top three sets in Year 8 usually take the GCSE German examination early, in Year 9. Other students take the same examination in Year 11, with the rest of their GCSEs.

German exams

Students in the top three sets in Year 11 are required to sit the "Das Deustches Sprachdiplom Stufe I" (Level 1) set by the KMK exam board, as well as the AS German exam.

Students who opt to continue to German A-Level also take "Das Deutsches Sprachdiplom Stufe II" (Level 2). The "Sprachdiplom" exam is a language certificate that describes the standards of qualified German language skills required for studying in Germany. This level represents the level of German language proficiency required to successfully attend higher education in Germany.


In Year 8, Mathematics classes are separated into three groups: one advanced set and two lower sets. In Year 9, however, the Mathematics classes are separated into four sets: highly advanced, advanced, upper lower and lower. The advanced classes generally take the GCSE Mathematics examination in Year 10, as opposed to Year 11, along with the other GCSE examinations.

Third language subject

Students in the English Stream also choose a third language, either French or Mandarin, apart from the compulsory languages English and German. From Year 4, when English Strwam students must take german lessons, they are immediately split into 3-4 different groups depending on your fluency. The same goes for Mandarin and French, but unlike Mandarin, which starts inYear 4, French starts in Year 7 if you choose to pursue it.

Compulsory GCSE subjects

There are several compulsory GCSE subjects. These are English Language, English Literature, German, Mathematics and French/Mandarin. Students are also required to take at least one science course, choosing from Physics, Chemistry and Biology. This measure was implemented to ensure students learned a broad range of subjects. There are no compulsory AS- or A-Level subjects, only that a minimum of three A-Levels are taken.

German Stream

The German Stream follows the German Curriculum, and the German stream students are obliged to sit the "Abitur" exams.

Public Examinations

Students are entered for the GCSE/IGCSE examinations in Year 11 for core subjects and additional subjects. Core subjects include English Language, English Literature, German and Mathematics. The additional subjects include languages, arts, humanities, and sciences. The languages include French and Chinese (Mandarin). The sciences are Physics, Chemistry and Biology, and the humanities are Economics, History and Geography. Additionally, Art, Music, Drama and Physical Education are available as well. The same subjects are available at AS-Level however, at A-Level English Language and Economics are no longer offered.

As the students progress into their Year 12, students choose at least three A-Level subjects. Each A-Level qualification consists of six modules, the first three of which make up an AS-Level qualification. Each A-Level is out of a total of six hundred points, but each module and exam within a module may carry different weightings. The format of the A-Level also differs, depending on the subject. For example, the science subjects are entirely made up of exams while the English Literature A-Level contains both coursework and exams and the Art A-level is nothing but coursework, with a 12 hour exam at the end.

Students have achieved the highest A-Level and GCSE pass rates in Hong Kong, but many students also independently take the SAT I and II, for applications to universities in the United States.

Academic standards at German Swiss are sometimes considered high, even once compared with ESF and other international schools in Hong Kong. In June 2005, GSIS achieved a pass rate (grades A* to C) of 84.9% (70.2% in the UK) at GCSE, with 40% at A* (6.6% UK).At AS-Level, the pass rate (A to E) was 99.9% (87.3% UK), with 48.4% at A (17.9% UK), while at A-Level the pass rate was 98.1% (96.2% UK), with 50% at A (22.8% UK).

The German Swiss International School has graduates going on to study at universities in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, United States, China and several other countries. These include the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, University of Toronto, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, University College London and many more elite institutions.


The "Mothers' Committee" raise money through various events, such as the annual Christmas Bazaar, to fund the building of new facilities, such as:
*The school's solar-heated 25 metre swimming pool
*Two libraries, one in the Middle Building and one in the Upper building
*Projector, "ActivBoard" (interactive whiteboard), computer, DVD/VCR player, cassette recorder and iPod player in each classroom; most classrooms are also fitted with a "Visualiz"
*5 Computer Labs with 50 computers each, all with Internet access and Microsoft Office software

All students and staff have bar-coded identification cards, allowing easy borrowing of textbooks and library books throughout the year. These cards can also be used as a smart card to pay for cafeteria food, currently managed by catering company Sodexho.

The Lounge

"The Lounge", built in 2006, is the school's cafeteria which serves students at lunchtime. Numerous complaints have been circulating about food quality and quantity and customer service of Sodexho.Fact|date=September 2008


Located on The Peak, GSIS borders a country park. Across the road from the school is a small shopping complex with a supermarket, a property agent, a florist and the school's cafeteria "The Lounge".

Dress Code and School Rules

Like most schools in Germany [Laura Smith-Spark, [ What's in a school uniform?] , BBC News, May 10, 2006, Accessed 2007-08-09] (but unlike most in Hong Kong), students at GSIS do not wear uniforms except during Physical Education classes. However, there is a dress code.

School hours are similar to those in Germany, with classes starting at 7:40 am - significantly earlier than other Hong Kong schools. School ends at 1:15 pm for primary school, as in Germany, at 1:15 pm for lower secondary students, and 3:20 pm for upper secondary students.


External links

* [ German Swiss International School's Website]

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