While most high school graduates in Hong Kong still opt to go to local universities for undergraduate degrees, there is also an increased willingness among the students to take up courses at Taiwan or mainland China institutions, a survey showed.
Taiwan is especially emerging as a big draw for Hong Kong undergraduate pupils, according to the survey by Hok Yau Club, a non-profit non-governmental organization that aims to provide support and guidance to students.
In a poll conducted among 1,200 students who are set to take the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (HKDSE) this year, 33 percent of the respondents said they will consider getting their undergraduate degrees in Taiwan.
The ratio marks a three-year-high in such intentions, Apple Daily reported.
Meanwhile, 17 percent said they will consider universities in the mainland, up from 15 percent a year ago.
Hok Yau Club conducted its survey in January.
Lower tuition fee was the major reason cited by students wanting to go to mainland China or Taiwan.
Some people who favored Taiwan said they were encouraged by the fact there is no law in the island to clamp down on freedom of speech.
Eighty-three percent of the interviewed students said they are not interested in going to the mainland for advanced studies as the diplomas issued there might not be recognized in Hong Kong. Sixty-seven percent had the same apprehensions about studying in Taiwan.
According to an agreement signed in 2004 between Hong Kong’s Education Bureau and its mainland counterpart, Hong Kong students who receive degrees in recognized mainland universities can return and apply directly to pursue Master’s degrees.
However, there is no such an agreement between Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Ng Po-shing, vice chairman of Hok Yau Club, said the reason why more Hong Kong students are opting for Taiwan over mainland for undergraduate degrees is because the pupils like Taiwan culture and political environment better.
Data from Taiwan’s University Entrance Committee for Overseas Chinese Students show that the number of Hong Kong students studying on Taiwan has been steadily increasing in recent years.
Hong Kong students in Taiwan have ballooned from 657 in 2011 to 7,333 in 2015, according to an am730 report.
Students from Hong Kong can now be found in about 150 universities in Taiwan where annual tuition fee ranges from the equivalent of HK$14,000 to HK$40,000, the report said.
The programs pursued by Hong Kong students encompass various fields such as management, architecture, design and engineering, among others.
Although low cost in Taiwan could be attractive, some Hong Kong students who are currently studying there warn of differences in terms of recognition of professional skills between the two places.
In addition to the fact the salary levels in Taiwan are clearly lower than that in Hong Kong, no foreign student is allowed to work as school teacher or civil servant in Taiwan, the report noted.
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