YCYW marks 3 decades of leading international education in Chinese mainland
As a visionary educator, Madam Tsang Chor-hang founded the first Yew Chung School in Hong Kong in 1932. For the past 90 years, Yew Chung and Yew Wah schools have flourished, extending their presence to 10 cities globally.
The Yew Chung Yew Wah Education Network (YCYW) provides a comprehensive education system, spanning from early childhood programs to primary, secondary, and tertiary education, thus covering the entire spectrum of education from "baby to bachelor."
YCYW has experienced remarkable development in the Chinese mainland. In the 1990s, as China continued to deepen its policies of reform and opening-up, and the expatriate community in China continued to grow, international schools in the Chinese mainland entered a new era of development. In order to meet an increasing demand for high-quality international education, YCYW established YCIS Shanghai in 1993. It was the first Yew Chung school in the Chinese mainland and the first independent international school in Shanghai officially recognized by the Chinese government.
On October 13, schools across the YCYW network celebrated Founder's Day, a special occasion to honor Madam Tsang Chor-hang for her contributions to education. The 2023-2024 academic year also marks the 30th anniversary of YCIS Shanghai. Dr Betty Chan Po-king, YCYW's chief executive officer and school supervisor, highlighted the school's development.
"In September 1993, we opened our first YCIS Shanghai campus with only 63 students from different countries and regions," Chan said. "Today, we take great pride in having more than 2,200 students in our many YCIS Shanghai campuses in Hongqiao, Gubei, Regency Park, Century Park, Ronghua, and Lingang. This achievement marks a significant milestone in our journey."
In addition to providing schools for expatriate children, YCYW has played a pivotal role in promoting the establishment of Yew Wah International Education Schools (YWIES), which mainly enrol Chinese students from the mainland. YCYW has established more than 30 schools in eight Chinese cities.
During the past 30 years, YCYW has continued to pioneer and innovate in the field of international education. With an unwavering commitment to develop contemporary Chinese international education, YCYW has championed a philosophy integrating the essence of Chinese and Western educational traditions. Leveraging the strengths of its programs in Chinese language and Chinese studies, YCYW innovated unique teaching methodologies, including bilingual learning communities and super co-curricular programs. These approaches foster a deep appreciation for cultural traditions, enabling students to develop exceptional character and a global perspective.
YCYW instils in its students the confidence and readiness to tackle the challenges of the modern world.
Chan also emphasised the distinctive aspects of contemporary Chinese international education that YCYW takes pride in.
"We hold the view that international education should not be confused with Western education," she said. "In the current global landscape marked by a multitude of challenges, international education must integrate the essence of both Eastern and Western cultures. The new generation must possess a deep appreciation of the unique values inherent in both Eastern and Western cultures. They should be equipped to distinguish excellence from mediocrity, capitalizing on their strengths while addressing their weaknesses, and effectively leveraging diverse cultural resources to tackle future challenges.
"In line with this philosophy, we not only instil traditional Chinese virtues in our students, but we also place great emphasis on fostering a robust bilingual foundation, nurturing a diverse cultural understanding, cultivating a broad global perspective, and encouraging flexible thinking," Chan said. "Our goal is to prepare them to become capable, creative, open-minded, and compassionate global citizens."
Founder's Day also attracted YCIS Shanghai alumni David Chau, YCIS Shanghai's first student. He is the co-founder of Shanghai's ART021 Fair, an art collector and patron, and an entrepreneur. He reminisced on his days at the school and encouraged young students to pursue knowledge, find their true passion, work as hard as they can, and never give up.
"This studying experience was very important to me," Chau said. "YCIS Shanghai managed to shape my personality and character. Its international education that blends both Eastern and Western cultures enabled me to be well-prepared to study abroad at a prestigious university."
Mary Yu, education director of YCYW Education Network, has worked in education for about 23 years.
Yu said that YCYW emphasized the humanistic spirit of students, respected each student's personality and differences, and strongly encouraged interdisciplinary cooperation to help students put their ideas into practice.
A successful and influential project of the school is "Hope Bean," which is now in its fifth year. Over the years, students have helped many coffee bean farmers in Yunnan Province promote and sell their products through a sales chain. They have also developed team spirit and all-round capabilities through research and surveys. Some of the project's proceeds were used to help local children affected by HIV/AIDS.
"We are also exploring how to better integrate artificial intelligence with teaching," Yu added. "It is a big scientific change and trend in education. In the future, big data analysis may provide students with more personalized learning contents and methods and truly achieve the goal of teaching students in accordance with their aptitude."
YCYW remains unwavering in its commitment to the Chinese mainland, guided by its founder's original goals to provide top-tier international education and explore the limitless possibilities that education holds for the future.