Studying abroad

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 August, 2010, 12:00am

A weak British pound and changes to the Hong Kong senior secondary curriculum have prompted a sharp rise in the number of students applying to higher education institutions in Britain.

By the end of June, Britain's Universities and Colleges Admissions Service had received 3,740 applications from Hong Kong, 12.2 per cent more than at the same time last year.

British Council Hong Kong said the number had been expected to be higher this year following the release of local A-level results.

The council said after the HKCEE results were released earlier this month, more Form Five graduates showed interest in education options overseas, partly because of a shortfall in places for Form Six study in Hong Kong.

'Secondary education in Hong Kong is changing and inevitably some students are seeking alternative study routes,' British Council Hong Kong education marketing manager Kathryn Chan said. 'In addition, the weakness of the pound has made UK education more affordable. That, plus the economic recovery in Hong Kong, has helped boost demand.'

An international study agency agreed that a weak pound had encouraged more Hong Kong parents to send their children to study in Britain. The agency said some students applied for courses abroad because of the uncertainty caused by changes to public exams sat at the end of senior secondary school. 'Some students are not confident they can get good results in the new open exams so they are applying for UK schooling as a back-up plan,' International Studies Service Centre marketing officer Ada Tam Tsz-wai said.

Tam said the centre had a 10 per cent increase in the number of inquiries about studying in Britain compared to last year.