Skip to main content

Concern for children’s learning and welfare runs deep with Dr Koong May Kay, Maggie, Chief Principal of Causeway Bay Victoria Kindergarten and Victoria (China) Education Group and Co-founder and Head of Academy at Victoria Shanghai Academy. Her mother founded the forerunner to these organisations and would take her daughter along to do voluntary work in the community. Upon reaching adulthood, Dr Koong took that inspiring start to life and ran with it.


She completed her undergraduate studies in the USA and returned to Hong Kong in the early 1990s to join the family business. Then, in testament to her commitment and energy, she completed a Master of Education degree at HKU over four years during which she also got married, gave birth to two children and opened two schools. She remembers submitting assignments while on honeymoon and just before going into labour.


“It was a very productive time!” she said, yet she has barely let up since. Over the past two decades, Dr Koong has earned a distance Doctor of Education degree from Durham University and served at a high level in multiple organisations such as United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Shanghai Committee and the World Organisation for Early Childhood Education, where she was World President from 2013-16.


She has also continued to grow her organisation to establish more than 20 kindergartens, a primary school and a secondary school in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Moreover, she has served on various government committees in Hong Kong, and developed early childhood education materials that children can use at home with their parents to develop their skills. These materials target parents as much as children.


“Parents need training, too. We try to tell them that we teachers are not teaching children. We are facilitating their growth by providing learning support and guidance, and we want to give parents something they can do to interact with their kids in a meaningful way,” she said.


Recently, Dr Koong has devoted much of her energy to helping children in adversity learn through play and develop resilience. She worked with UNESCO in Africa and UNICEF in Mainland China to produce toolkits for teachers, caregivers and other stakeholders. And this year, represented by Dr Koong, the Victoria Charitable Education Foundation Limited and Causeway Bay Kaifong Welfare Association donated HK$500,000 to support the work of the Faculty’s Consortium for Research in Early Childhood Development and Education (CORE) for children from underprivileged families in Hong Kong.


“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that resilience is an issue in Hong Kong, too. I have previously worked with Professor Nirmala Rao, Director of CORE, so I know the project is in good hands. It is a small project but has potential to scale up to be a model for others,” she said.


Ultimately, Dr Koong would like children everywhere to benefit from the kind of quality education that she has been practicing and advocating for more than three decades. “Equity is a major issue. Every child should have the right to receive quality early childhood education, where they can have meaningful interaction in a conducive environment. If there is no equity, there is no quality,” she said.


Dr Koogn and her teacher

Dr Maggie Koong (left) took this photo with Dr Sylvia Opper (right), a former teacher of the Faculty when she completed the Master of Education degree at HKU.



Dr Chen Gaowei

Dr Koong (sixth from left in the first row) at a peer review meeting with Chinese and African experts in 2018, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, organised by UNESCO-International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa. The meeting aimed to provide an opportunity for the participating countries to learn from each other and harvest good practices.