Date
20 October 2017
Last autumn's Umbrella protests may have encouraged some Hong Kong parents to send their children to Britain to study. Photo: Reuters
Last autumn's Umbrella protests may have encouraged some Hong Kong parents to send their children to Britain to study. Photo: Reuters

Applications to study in Britain surge after Occupy protests

Education agents predict keen competition among Hong Kong students for places in British private secondary schools for the coming school year starting September, as the Occupy protests have triggered the biggest wave of applications since 1997.

Enquiries about admission have nearly tripled from a year earlier, Apple Daily reported Thursday.

One agent said the number of applications has doubled in the past six months.

During the protests, 40 percent of Hong Kong students seeking to study overseas took UKiset, an entrance examination for private schools in Britain.

Cardiff Sixth Form College founder Nadeem Darwar was quoted as saying the trend could be driven by an increased sense of political instability in Hong Kong.

The private school received an average of 50 applications a month before the Occupy protests, and the number tripled after the protests kicked off.

Darwar said the total number of enquiries handled during the protests totaled over 1,000, an unprecedented phenomenon.

He expected the number of applicants competing for each place at his private school to increase to 15 from 10.

Caitriona Redding from Oundle School, a boarding school in England, was quoted as saying Hong Kong parents are sending their children to study in Britain at a younger age.

She expects to admit up to 10 Form 1 students from the city in the new school year.

Redding recalled that during a visit to Hong Kong in September she had to get out of a taxi and walk carrying her luggage, as roads were blocked by Occupy protesters.

However, she said, the young protesters were courteous and friendly and helped her with the luggage.

Both Cardiff Sixth Form College and Oundle School said students need not worry about applying if they took part in the Occupy protests.

Samuel Chan, founder of Britannia StudyLink, an overseas education consultancy, was quoted as saying more and more parents have lost trust in Hong Kong’s education system and political outlook, regardless of their take on the Occupy protests.

Hong Kong is facing a brain drain, Chan said.

He also said the number of students looking to study in mainland institutions dropped from 4,000 last year to 3,468 this year.

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