Increasing social friction in Hong Kong is dampening the enthusiasm of mainland students for applying to study at universities in the city, the Beijing Youth Daily reported Tuesday.
Isabella Wong, director of the China affairs office at the University of Hong Kong, was quoted as saying that while the number of applicants from the mainland stayed in the 10,000-12,000 range over the past three years, it is expected to continue to fall this year.
The number of applicants for Hong Kong Baptist University is also declining. It dropped to 3,800 last year from 4,800 in 2013 and 5,000 in 2012, the report said.
The language barrier, expensive tuition and worries among the students’ parents about instability in Hong Kong arising from increasing friction between Hongkongers and mainlanders were the reasons behind the falling number of applicants, the newspaper said.
A mother was quoted as saying that Hong Kong had been her top choice for advanced studies for her child in the past.
However, since last year, she has seen some Hongkongers besieging visitors from the mainland because of increasing discontent with cross-border smuggling — not to mention the Occupy Central demonstrations — which could cause instability in Hong Kong and may increase mental pressure on students studying in the city.
Ip Kin-yuen, legislative councilor for the education constituency, said he has not heard about mainland students forgoing the chance to advance their studies in Hong Kong because of Occupy Central.
He said he thinks parents’ concerns mentioned by the newspaper are natural, Apple Daily reported.
Ip said an analysis should be done of whether Hong Kong has lost its attraction for elite students as the number of mainland applicants decreases.
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