Cheating students lose their places at university
Exam authority comes down hard on 26 pupils who committed plagiarism or broke the rules
While the 28,418 pupils who have met the basic requirements for university admission consider which programmes to apply for, some have already lost their chance - and have been penalised for breaking the exam rules.
Twenty-six pupils were disqualified for plagiarism after they were found to have copied articles - without citations - from the internet or other sources for their school projects which, under the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education exam, counted towards grades.
The projects - completed for Chinese language, history and liberal studies - came under scrutiny after they were sent to the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority.
"It's a very serious case. If students take information from the internet, they have to be very careful and give proper citations, as it is about integrity," said Wan Tak-wing, acting general manager of assessment development at the HKEAA.
Two of the 26 pupils were found plagiarising information in their liberal studies projects while one was found plagiarising in a history project.
The 23 pupils - who had their Chinese language exam papers disqualified - are from the same private education institute and were taught by the same teacher, but were not in the same class. The authority refused to identify the institute involved.
"We will follow up on every case to see if the school has done anything that we consider unsatisfactory. And if it has, we'll request that it reviews and improves its methods," Wan said, adding that the authority had systems in place to detect cheating. However, Modern College, the secondary day school of Modern Education - a listed private tutorial operator - admitted the 23 pupils attended its school. It said the teacher involved and also the head of that school had been suspended after the incident.
"The teacher discovered suspected plagiarism [before submitting the projects to the HKEAA] and asked students to redo them," a college spokesman said. "But some didn't follow the instructions and the teacher still submitted their projects."
As the pupils don't have grades for their Chinese-language exams, they will not be considered for admission to any colleges via the Joint University Programmes Admissions System, as Chinese is one of the four minimum requirement subjects.
In another case a candidate was found using a textbook during an elective subject exam. His paper was also disqualified.
Additional reporting by Phila Siu and Ng Kang-chung