FOR Robin Zhang, yesterday was an exciting day. He took his first steps into the American-style BASIS school, which he hopes will help him achieve his dream of studying at MIT.
Zhang is in Grade 6 at the BASIS International School of Shenzhen and is one of the school's first students.
"One of my mom's friends told her that a famous school was going to open in
Shenzhen and I am the one who decides to come at last," the 12-year-old boy said in English during the school's opening ceremony at the Shekou Net-Valley in Nanshan District.
"I heard the school is exceptionally famous for its science and math and I want to study at MIT when I graduate from high school, so it's a good choice for me," said Zhang.
The school is charging a tuition fee ranging between US$20,000 to US$30,000 for each school year. The price is high, but parents are willing to pay for the American-style education.
Zhang's mother also said she was happy he has made it into the school, giving him access to an authentic American-style education.
Out of the top five high schools in the U.S., two of them are BASIS schools, according to a school spokesperson.
Approximately 400 kids, with foreign passports or permanent residency of other countries or regions including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, have been accepted into the American-style school for the first year. These 400 students were selected from among 800 who applied.
Apart from having a foreign passport or permanent residency, the students must take an admission exam and have a face-to-face interview with the school's principal.
"BASIS schools have a very good reputation in the U.S. and we are excited to open our first overseas school here in Shenzhen, bringing the most authentic BASIS curriculum and culture to the kids here," said Peter Bezanson, the CEO of BASIS Charter Schools.
The school will open classes for students from kindergarten to Grade 9 with each class limited to 25 students.
One parent surnamed Jin has a son with a Hong Kong green card who originally planned to study at a school in Kowloon Tong in Hong Kong, but decided to come to the BASIS school based on its reputation.
"What my family values the most about the school is that it has an American education system that is different from other schools," said a cousin of a 16-year-old student known as Sunny.
"BASIS school's main belief is that students can achieve more than we expect and this has led to our high-quality teaching and high requirements for our students," said Bezanson at a news conference after the opening ceremony.
The school will be able to handle 1,000 students. BASIS said it is looking forward to opening more schools in China.