Madam Tsang Chor-hang founded the first Yew Chung School in Hong Kong in 1932, inspired by her vision of a revitalized China. Her aim was to help students develop “good character and sound knowledge”. Eighty-five years later, Madam Tsang Chor-hang’s legacy lives on through the Yew Chung Education Foundation (YCEF), which has grown into a global network of schools and colleges. With the recognition that their founder’s ideals are more relevant than ever, YCEF remains committed to educating ‘the whole person’ and cultivating a new generation that will have a transformative impact on the world.
On the occasion of the 85th Founder’s Day celebration at YCIS Beijing, Vice Principal/Head of Secondary school Mr. Don Collins spoke passionately about the school’s commitment to preparing students for real-world challenges. “We can teach the students to write essays but it is also about getting them to articulate their understanding of any subject in a way that they enjoy,” Mr. Collins said. Mr. Collins also emphasized how creative self-expression is welcomed and how the school brings industry experts into the classroom and shares knowledge through video calling technologies.
A clear example of the incredible power of technology was seen at the Founder’s Day celebration, which is held every year across all schools and colleges in the YCEF network to honor Madam Tsang Chor-hang and to reflect on the years of success. At this year’s Founder’s Day celebration, 10,000 students and staff from six campuses connected virtually through video conferencing software.
What is the secret of YCIS’s success over the last 85 years? Perhaps it is staying true to their founder’s vision while adapting with the times. The motto may have changed from “Diligence, Thrift, Modesty, and Honesty” to “ Align with Science and Technology, Culture and Art, Love and Charity”, but the vision is the same.
All six Yew Chung International Schools (YCIS) offer an academic curriculum that focuses on preparing students for the IGCSE and IB Diploma programmes. The curriculum ensures a smooth transition through the different Key Stage Levels (Early Childhood Education, Primary Education, and Secondary Education).
Equal emphasis is placed on arts, music, and sports. The commitment to educating the ‘whole person’ also includes YCIS’s Character Education Programme, which aims to provide students with a values-based moral education. Drawing from a variety of cultures, the idea of this is to use everyday examples to help nurture the values of compassion and commitment to serve family, community, and society. In line with this concept, the Seeds of Hope project was introduced in 2008. By partnering with different stakeholders, YCIS hopes to establish ‘Seeds of Hope’ schools for underprivileged children in rural China.
By ensuring the intellectual, physical, and emotional growth of each student, education at YCIS prepares them for achievements in a wide variety of arenas. With the help of guidance councilors, alumni, and industry experts, students are able to choose their career paths and secure places in top universities around the world.
While the term ‘international’ is often confused with ‘westernization’ in China, at YCIS it signifies a balanced blend of east and west. In addition to Chinese Studies and language classes, the east meets west philosophy is primarily exercised through a unique co-teaching model. Each classroom is served by two teachers — one Chinese and one Western — who collaborate to provide a bilingual learning experience. “It is a rock-solid commitment to the notion of language development and cultural understanding”, said Mr. Collins.
Asked what else sets YCIS apart from other international schools in the region, Ms. Christine Xu, Chinese Co-Principal, pointed to the foundation’s history and rich experience, which has helped strengthen areas such as curriculum design and management. She also touched on the dedication and commitment of the teachers: “I strongly believe that experience generates creativity… sometimes innovation comes from what you already know.”
Ms. Xu went on to talk about the Parents Organization (P.O.), which is actively involved in various school activities and community initiatives. YCIS believes that parents grow and learn along with their children. “Just this week we started our Active Parenting Program led by our counselor”, she added. These programmes ultimately focus on working with the teachers to raise happier, healthier children. “Parents are our co-pilots!” Ms. Xu emphasized.
Speaking of parental influence, as part of the celebrations, Dr. Betty Chan Po-king, daughter of Madam Tsang Chor-hang and Director of YCIS schools, addressed the students, staff, alumni, and parents who joined the event and announced the introduction of a four-year degree program in Early Childhood Education starting in 2018 at Yew Chung Community College (YCCC). “The 85th anniversary serves as a reminder to be thankful and count our blessings as we embark upon the next chapter.”
This post is sponsored by YCIS Beijing.
Photos: Uni You, YCIS Beijing