More places for students who miss Form Six cut

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 June, 2010, 12:00am

The number of places for students who fail to get into Form Six to switch to the new curriculum will be increased by 50 per cent, with more places available at day schools and vocational training centres.

The Education Bureau made the announcement yesterday as it outlined further study paths for those who took the final Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) this year.

Students under the old HKCEE system sit the exam after five years of secondary school. Those who do well stay on for two more years to take the A-levels for university admission.

Under the new system launched in September, all secondary students will take the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education - which will replace the A-levels - after six years of study. The two systems will operate in tandem until 2012. But no schools will take Form Five repeaters in the 2010-11 academic year, since Forms Six and Seven will be phased out by 2012. Those who want to repeat Form Five under the old system will only be able to do so as self-study students.

Yesterday's announcement of more places at day schools and vocational centres came after a flurry of media reports about HKCEE candidates being caught in the transition between the two systems.

Student groups said earlier that a protest of about 200 pupils was planned for the end of June over what they saw as unfair treatment resulting from the shift.

Schools will reserve 15,000 places for Form Five graduates this year so they can switch to the second year of the three-year curriculum leading to the new diploma, the bureau said. Every year, about 10,000 pupils who fail to gain a Form Six place repeat their Form Five studies.

Special summer classes will also be arranged for students who switch to the new curriculum to help them catch up, the bureau said. But those students will have to study in two years what others under the new system have three years to cover.

Up to 3,000 extra places will also be set aside for the Project Yi Jin programme, under which a graduate of a one-year, full-time course can get qualifications equivalent to five passes in the HKCEE. The project admitted 12,000 full-time pupils in the 2009-10 academic year.

Dr Cheung Kwok-wah, the bureau's principal assistant secretary for education (curriculum development), said there would be about 13,000 places in vocational training courses provided by institutions like the Labour Department and Vocational Training Council. The bureau will also reserve 9,000 places for Form Five graduates to retake the exam next year as self-study students, but it did not recommend the option.

There are about 127,000 HKCEE candidates this year, compared with 115,000 last year. One of the Form Five graduates organising the protest, Max Chi Cheuk-lung, 18, said switching to the second year of the new curriculum would put the students at a big disadvantage.

Transition period

50 per cent more places will be available at day schools and vocational training centres

The number of places available this year for Form Five students who don't do well to switch to the new curriculum: 15,000