24,000 in final fight for study options
About 24,000 students will dash around the city today in pursuit of study options, with 35,000 Form Six places being contested by around 59,000 candidates who fulfilled the minimum entrance requirements.
But scenes of students scurrying between schools and central admission centres with their result slips will be consigned to history after the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority releases results for the Form Five public exam for the last time today.
Results for 122,387 Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) candidates, 6,860 more than last year, are released today. Of these, 73,805 are students at day schools taking the exams for the first time and 33,246 are self-study candidates. The rest are repeaters at day schools, and various other types of candidate.
A total of 56,451, or 71 per cent, of day-school pupils have obtained the minimum qualification for Form Six, up by 347 from last year. The minimum entrance requirements for Form Six are six marks out of 30 for six subjects, including Chinese and English, with a pass carrying one mark. A total of 34,820 places are on offer.
With the percentage rise in the number of Form Six places (4 per cent) greater than the rise in the number of eligible candidates (0.7 per cent), Lit Ho-cheung, director of Hok Yau Club's student guidance centre, said the fight for Form Six places would be eased this year.
'But the 24,000 students who could not gain a Form Six place must consider different factors thoroughly before making a decision,' he said.
'A series of study pathways are available for them like vocational courses, associate degree programmes and switching to the second year of the new senior secondary curriculum.'
This is the last year in which pupils will take the HKCEE. They will now stay in secondary school for a sixth year and sit for the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education, which replaces A levels. The two systems will operate in parallel until 2012.
A candidate with 14 marks can usually secure a Form Six place. A total of 26,583 candidates scored 14 marks or above this year, down by 18 from last year.
Sixteen students obtained 10 distinctions, compared with 13 straight-A students last year.
Francis Cheung Wing-ming, secretary general of the authority, commended the performance of special needs students. 'A total of 21 of them scored three As to eight As,' he said.
Overall performance in Chinese and English was slightly worse than last year. The pass rate for Chinese fell from 71.6 per cent to 70.9 per cent; the pass rate for English dropped from 66.9 per cent to 65 per cent.
The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups has set up a 24-hour hotline until tomorrow. Hsu Siu-man, supervisor of the federation, said they had so far dealt with more than 2,000 cases requiring counselling. She said some parents had paid up to HK$10,000 in advance to programme providers even though the results had yet to be released.
'They paid a deposit of around HK$3,000 to HK$4,000 for a programme and they applied for three different ones for a sense of security.'
Jao Ming said he was worried about his son's prospects. 'My wife has already applied for leave today to accompany him. We have paid HK$300 so far for a place with the Vocational Training Council. If he scores below 10 marks, we hope he can switch to the new curriculum.'
The last intake of students to sit the Hong Kong Cerificate of Education Examination will get their results today
Those who fulfilled Form Six minimum requirements
Form Six places
Those who scored 10 As
Those who scored zero in six subjects
Number of special needs candidates
Source: Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority