Featured image photo credit: Михаил Мингазов from Pixabay
If you are based in Macau and planning to go ahead with kindergarten application for your child, there are a few steps to take the year she or he turns three to ensure your little one gets a spot. The whole Central Registration process isn’t complicated, but you’ll have to keep a close eye on the announcements by DSEJ (available at www.dsej.gov.mo) and be on top of due dates in order to make sure things run smoothly.
The first aspect to consider: is your child eligible to enroll in infant education for the first time? This year, fitting applicants are Macau residents aged three by 31st December 2020 and non-Macau residents aged three by 31st December 2020 who possess a stay or residence permit for over 90 days issued by the authorized entity of the Macao SAR.
What are your options?
Selecting a school for your child is not a decision any parent takes lightly, especially if you’re an expat living in Macau and your child doesn’t know Cantonese or Mandarin. Moreover, this probably narrows down your options to international schools or Sino-Portuguese, in case your child is fluent in Portuguese or, as fluent as a two or three-year-old can be. On the contrary, you might feel like language shouldn’t pose as a barrier. Expat parents have enrolled their non-Chinese speaking children in Chinese schools before and they usually stand by their choice stating that these are precisely the kind of experiences that will enrich their kids and provide them with a wider view of the world.
If we consider the main teaching language, schools can roughly be divided into three different major types: Chinese, International (English as the main language) and Sino-Portuguese (Portuguese as the main language). Some schools have more than one language section and many will somehow include a second language in their curricula by teaching it for a small amount of time per day or week–this includes K1 students–which is quite positive. Kids become bilingual so easily!
Keep yourself updated
Year after year the whole process’ timeframe is more or less the same. However, due to this year’s coronavirus outbreak, the original scheduling is being postponed. Therefore, we strongly recommend you to keep yourself updated on any news and announcements through DSEJ’s website or by contacting them directly.
Each year in early January, DSEJ releases the enrolment information of all different schools on its website. You may refer to this link to access the 2020/2021 academic year enrolment information. On this page, parents are able to consult the full list of schools open for registration, respective websites, and other relevant information such as which grades are open for admission, interview period, enrolment fees and the schools’ website. By hitting the School’s Information button, parents can find out more on each of them: teaching language, a brief description of the school’s goals and pedagogic approach, useful info such as address and contact number and whether it is a public or private institution.
January: Enrolment through DSEJ’s Central Registration for Children Entering Kindergarten for the First Time
At this stage, parents are required to provide the child’s and their guardian’s personal information and select a maximum of six schools they wish to apply to. After submitting the information, they get an SMS with a verification code that is meant to be inserted right before hitting “Submit”. Bear in mind you should possess a recent digital photo of your child to be uploaded onto the registration platform. Within 24 hours after submitting the information, you’ll get an SMS confirming your child’s registration. There’s no need to rush as soon as the registration period kicks off, as there isn’t any kind of priority for early submissions.
February: Schools release the interview dates
Schools to which parents have applied to earlier will notify them via SMS about the interview dates and let them know what they’ll need to present on the day it is set to happen. If by any chance, you’re unable to attend an interview, you must contact the school in advance and request the rearrangement of said interview.
March: Schools admission interviews take place
Schools will hold interviews in March. Parents are to accompany their child to school for the interview and make sure they have all the documents required for the purpose. The fact these interviews happen in the first place is considered distressing by many parents, but as the saying goes, it is what it is. The way interviews are conducted varies from school to school. In some schools, the interview might be a very casual meet and greet with several kids and one or both parents. Other schools may group the children in small groups and have a teacher interact with them, watch them as they play and socialize with their peers and jot down some notes on each child. Many schools require the child to be fully potty trained in order to stand a chance of being admitted. Anyhow, there’s no need to stress yourself out about this. In the big picture that is a person’s academic path, this is just kindergarten!
April: Schools release the admission list and the due date for online confirmation; Register at the school in person
When April comes, we hope you get the good news and have your child admitted into the school you believe to be the right fit for them! One thing is certain, the Macau government ensures that no child is ever left without a school. In case he or she didn’t get a spot where you wished to, don’t lose hope just yet. There’s still a chance your kid is put on the waitlist and that later on she or he gets in. The waitlisted children’s list is released towards the end of April.
But before that, the admission lists are published on the DSEJ website and at schools. It is also common for schools to notify parents via SMS of the result, whether the child got admitted or not. A child might be admitted into more than one school, so it’s up to the parents to decide which school to enroll at. Then, their choice is confirmed on the DSEJ website within the designated period.
At this stage, mission is close to accomplished! K1 enrolment’s final step is to register your child at the preferred school within the designated period, in person, by presenting their ID and any other documents required by the educational institution (such as vaccination book and so on).
We hope to have made the kindergarten application of Macau clear and wish your child a very happy time at kindergarten!
Opening hours: Monday–Thursday, 9:00am–1:00pm, 2:30pm–5:45pm; Friday, 9:00am–1:00pm，2:30pm–5:30pm
Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ) Avenida de D. João IV, n.os 7-9, 1.° andar, Macau,+853 8397 2309, www.dsej.gov.mo