Date
28 June 2017
HKDSE takers have been falling by up to 6,000 a year in recent years. The drop is expected to continue. Photo: http://www.hkeaa.edu.hk
HKDSE takers have been falling by up to 6,000 a year in recent years. The drop is expected to continue. Photo: http://www.hkeaa.edu.hk

HKEAA faces financial trouble as HKDSE takers continue to fall

The Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) is seeking ways to stay relevant under a new government that takes over on July 1.

Chairman Rock Chen said the independent, self-financing statutory body will seek discussions about how to keep it functioning, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports. 

HKEAA is concerned about its financial capacity as the number of students taking the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education examination (HKDSE) has kept falling.

Data shows there are only 61,000 HKDSE takers this academic year compared with a peak of more than 80,000 previously. The number has fallen by about 5,000 to 6,000 students annually in recent years and is expected to continue to drop.

As a result, Chen said the authority lost as much as HK$40 million (US$5.13 million) in last year’s HKDSE exam alone. Overall, it suffered a loss of HK$20 million.

To strengthen its financial position, it has announced that fees for HKDSE will go up 4 percent next year.

Chen said the main reason for the continuing drop in exam takers is Hong Kong’s low birth rate.

But the problem may be in fact good news for future HKDSE takers.

Although they will be forced to pay more to help the authority, their chances of entering university will increase because they will have fewer competitors.

Moreover, they are more likely to make the quota set by the University Grants Committee, which offers financial assistance in the form of grants or loans.

Meanwhile, the government has been urged to raise the quota.

Ng Po-shing, director of the student guidance center of Hok Yau Club, a non-profit organization that provides support and guidance to students, said the government should offer financial help not only to students who study to be professionals but also to those who pursue liberal arts courses.

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TL/AC/RA

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