UK keeps GCSE, but no effect on Hong Kong schools

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 February, 2013, 4:23am

Britain's education secretary Michael Gove announced yesterday he has abandoned plans to replace the GCSE with a new English Baccalaureate certificate after growing concern within the coalition and from education groups.

But the decision will not affect the thousands of Hong Kong students - from the English Schools Foundation, international schools, and some local schools - who sit the International GCSE which does not fall under the jurisdiction of the British government.

The IGCSE qualification is the international version of the GCSE, which is taken by 14 to 16 year olds.

The IGCSE papers are written with reference to the GCSE exams used in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Adrian Price, principal of YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College in Tung Chung which offers the IGCSE, said: "The exams that are the topic of discussion in the UK - the GCSE - are not exams that we offer. We offer the IGCSE and the GCE A-Levels, both of which will continue as normal."

A spokeswoman from the English Schools Foundation said: "This will not affect any of ESF's curriculum development plans."

Nevertheless Chris Durbin, ESF development adviser , welcomed the announcement that the GCSE would be retained.

He said: "That's a sensible decision because it was being rushed unnecessarily. Due consideration needs to be given to young people's qualifications. When you change a system, you need to be very careful."

Gove will nonetheless press ahead with his wider plans to bring in what he sees as a much-needed return to a more fact-based, exam-tested approach to learning.