By James Chen & Eva Ling
Every year over 20,000 students score “zero” in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE).
Tse Wing Ling is an associate professor in the Department of Applied Social
Studies at the City University of Hong Kong.
Tse said students who have failed examinations are regarded as “losers”.
public holds a very high standard; they like to use absolute criteria to
measure a person’s success,” said he.
they tend to focus on academic qualifications only.”
Daniel Shek is a professor in the Department of Social Work at The Chinese
University of Hong Kong.
is also a member of the government’s Youth Commission.
from suicides, Prof. Shek said that examination failure leads to other teenage
teenage drug addicts are school dropouts,” he said.
juvenile delinquents have poor performance in schools.
they fail academically, they want to gain some sense of achievement in other
ways,” said Prof. Shek.
failures lead to low self-esteem and even stuctural problems in Hong Kong
Shek said, “Nowadays, academic qualifications affect wage levels.”
high unemployment rate is another consequence of the examination system.
Shek said that youth unemployment will be a major issue in the coming 10 years.
who cannot further their studies mostly decide to join the labour force.
getting a job is never easy for them.
stagnant economy and low academic qualifications are main reasons for their
Chung Yue-Ping is the dean of the
Facult of Education at The Chinese
University of Hong Kong.
Dr. Chung: “The whole education system is exam-oriented rather than
curriculum and learning-oriented.
the cultural and value systems of the whole public have been distorted. The
focus is on examinations.”
Prof. Shek: “Assessments spread over the forms of take-home assignments,
projects and quizzes instead of one-off exams produce less harmful effects on
Both Dr. Chung and Prof. Shek prefer the Scholastic Aptitude Test in the
response to undesirable results brought on by the education system, some other
scholars have different opinions.
Cheung Kwong Yuen is the head of Subjects Division at the Hong Kong Examination
examination tests basic abilities such as analysing and organising information
from different sources.
someone fails the examination, it just means that he or she is under the
standard level,” said Mr. Cheung.
an international city, we have more chances to access and study examination
systems in different countries and the mainland.”
Kong is a member of the International Association for Educational Assessment.
association holds a meeting every year to improve the education systems in
their member countries.
Kong will be the host for the 2002 meeting.
also asked British experts on examinations to assist us on the content of
examinations. Examination questions will be sent to them,” said Mr. Cheung.
to the policy of the Education and Manpower Bureau, we will add a new idea
called Primary Knowledge Elements of Courses to
the system of examinations for the HKCEE.”
to Mr. Cheung, during the examination, a certain percent of the content will be
based on the primary knowledge
said this would give students a clear idea of the content of the courses.
some of the reforms are not welcomed by experts, like the merger of the HKCEE
and the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination.
to Prof. Chun Wing Kwong of Department of Education at The Chinese Univeristy
of Hong Kong, the function of the Advanced Level Examination is to pick out
those suitable for tertiary education while the function of the HKCEE is to
qualify for the labour force.
characteristics and functions of these two examinations are different, so they
should not be merged together,” he said.
Executive Tung Chee-hwa called for more tertiary places. But this has been
criticised by experts, too.
mentioned by the chief executive, if
another 60 percent gain access to university education, there must be at least
twice as many students in Form 6 as we assume that every one can enter the
university,” said Prof. Chun.
Tse of City University said that the government is too eager to engage in
reforms are not being weighed thoroughly,” said Dr. Tse.
said the government should provide more reentry paths like community colleges.
“Students should be given chances to develop talents other than academic ones,” he said.