Fairness questioned for Hong Kong university entrance exam taken in mainland China

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The Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) will allow qualified schools for Hong Kong children in mainland China to take the exam for most subjects next year. They can use the DSE results to participate in joint university admissions to compete with Hong Kong students.

In other words, children born in Hong Kong whose father and/or mother are non-Hong Kong permanent residents who study in these schools, not only can they take most DSE subjects in mainland China, but they can also use the DSE results to apply for undergraduate courses at a local university through the Joint University Admissions System (JUPAS) as a Hong Kong citizen.

The public is uncertain about the fairness of the Hong Kong university entrance exam, which will be held in some mainland Chinese schools next year amid stiff competition among non-resident candidates from Hong Kong and Hong Kong applicants.

A former official of the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) said that due to the new organization of examinations in mainland China, the principle of setting questions for each subject will be “zero Politics”.

The HKEAA issued a notice on Wednesday, June 22, stating that the DSE examination rules have been revised to allow “schools for Hong Kong children” located in mainland China, which have been recognized by relevant authorities on the mainland as offering DSE courses, to apply to be a “school with examination center”.

Candidates from these schools will not need to come to Hong Kong to take the DSE as “self-study students”, but they can take the DSE exam in mainland China.

Questionable fairness

The Democratic Party was concerned about whether the EHR in mainland China could be as rigorous as Hong Kong, including confidentiality of pre-screening questions, strict oversight, strict cheating prevention and fair grading.

Leo Chu Tsz-lok, spokesperson for the Party’s education policy, mentioned that under the HKEAA’s arrangement, it looked like the examination centers in mainland China could become a loophole in oversight.

Leo also said that in terms of proctors, Hong Kong exam centers are currently proctored by teachers from different schools and they can also supervise each other. but when the examination centers are located in mainland China, will the statutory roles and powers of effective mutual supervision be affected overseas?

He also wondered whether HKEAA’s power could be extended to mainland China and how to ensure the confidentiality of exam questions before the exam.

He said mainland China exam scripts should be sent to Hong Kong and scored along with local candidates’ scripts to ensure consistency in scoring criteria.

Hans Yeung Wing-yu, former head of HKEAA’s assessment development department, said that “it is very doubtful that HKEAA can guarantee fairness and justice” because schools in mainland China will exploit their own examination sites. How to avoid “red packet money” (corruption) and other characteristics of mainland China?

He also pointed out that mainland Chinese and Hong Kong people belong to different cultures. The first “pays no attention to rights and procedures, and problems once resolved with power, later seem never to have existed”.

“Zero politics” and no “critical thinking” exam questions

Hans questioned that since the exam papers are sent to mainland China, the principle of setting questions after 2024 is “political zero” and that there should be no criticism from mainland China. and the Chinese Communist Party. This announces that “critical thinking” has officially ended in education in Hong Kong.

He said education reform in Hong Kong should be linked to this new exam arrangement.

“The general education subject is considered ‘anti-China and disruptive to Hong Kong’, will end in 2023, and then the HKEAA will set up examination centers in mainland China the following year. The Authority must ensure the exam is “politically non-toxic” before you can enter the land of “dynamic Zero-COVID”.

In other words, in order to avoid political unrest in mainland China, “non-toxic exam questions” will be the top priority for setting exam papers. »

He also doubted that allowing children from Hong Kong to take an EHR in mainland China was just a first step. Will the DSE be promoted to non-Hong Kong applicants in the near future?

Tourism impact of 200,000 children from birth

The issue of child birth tourism in Hong Kong has plagued Hong Kong for many years. Mainland residents whose parents do not have the right to reside in Hong Kong had 200,000 children born in Hong Kong.

Hans pointed out, “The CCP has always taken things step by step, following the boiling frog theory. The Authority allows children from Hong Kong in Mainland China to take the EHR, but in fact, the Authority had already traveled to Shenzhen to promote the EHR when it was launched. “The Authority still intends to promote this ‘internationally recognized exam’ to non-Hong Kongers.

He said JUPAS will include more non-Hong Kong applicants from mainland China in the future, and the DSE will become a stepping stone for mainland Chinese students to study abroad. Hong Kong students will face stiffer competition as more people take the exam. He believes this is why parents and applicants are paying attention to this news, as the DSE should be a selection system that puts Hong Kongers first.

“Of course, in the new era of national security law, the word ‘should be’ has lost its meaning.”

Also, students from Hong Kong may have less chance of “achieving the 5** distinction”. If mainland Chinese applicants can take the exam, it will affect the results of Hong Kong students.

Hans said that according to the current speed of change, it is estimated that Hong Kong’s education system and examination system will be “integrated into mainland China’s systems” before 2030.

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Leo Cheung

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