HONG KONG - Students who want to apply for university in Taiwan: don't stress out too much. A low result or failure in the Hong Kong Diploma for Secondary Education liberal studies paper will not affect you, officials said on Monday.
Taiwanese universities have adopted a lenient attitude towards the new HKDSE examination's compulsory core subject.
This year, liberal studies joins Chinese, English and mathematics as a prerequisite for those wanting to enter Hong Kong universities.
Shirley Lee Hsin, an official of Taiwan's University Entrance Committee for Overseas Chinese Students, said that removing the requirement for liberal studies would provide more opportunities for Hong Kong students who performed well in other subjects. 'Liberal studies is a life-long learning process, and in our universities, it can be learned from everyday life,' she said.
Taiwanese universities are offering 15,000 places for Hong Kong and other overseas students this year. Lee said the number of applications from Hong Kong was already twice that of last year's 600.
She said Taiwan was a good destination for students who wanted to be immersed in a liberal environment and get good value for their money. The annual tuition fee for public universities ranges from HK$10,000 to HK$20,000, depending on the subjects.
From next month, some 100,000 students will take the A-levels and HKDSE, as the former system is phased out to make way for educational reforms. The HKDSE is designed to replace the A-levels and the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination for Form Five students.
Some local teachers have expressed concern that students who have never done liberal studies may fail the exam.
Earlier, the British Council advised universities not to reject those who did not perform well in liberal studies, but excelled in all other subjects, because the grading standard for the new subject was still unpredictable.