THE announcement yesterday that controversial changes to the entry standards for teacher training colleges will come into effect from September has met a storm of protest from teachers and students. A protest letter was sent immediately to Governor Mr Chris Patten by the Hongkong Professional Teachers' Union. Last night student and union representatives were meeting to discuss how to fight the decision, with students talking about staging a sit-in. The union's vice-president, Mr Au Pak-kuen, said they feared the general standard of the teaching profession would fall. In announcing the two revised entry requirements, the Education Department's assistant director (further education), Mr Kwan Ting-fai, said the more flexible criteria was introduced to make the system fairer. At present, to meet the basic requirements for admission, applicants must have obtained in one sitting of the Hongkong Certificate of Education Examination grade E or above in six different subjects. Under the changes, students will still qualify if they reach the standard in two sittings, with at least four subjects in one sitting. The second new standard requires applicants to obtain not less than 11 points for the six subjects, calculated on the basis of one point for Grade E, progressing to five points for Grade A. It is claimed the revised standards will widen the choice of candidates, without lowering standards. Quoting the 1992 colleges admission exercise, the Education Department says 1,077 more applicants with grade 11 points or above would have been eligible for consideration for the three-year course. ''I see no reason why we can have a lowering of standards if we have more people to consider than previously,'' Mr Kwan said. ''The reality is that we are not scraping the barrel and we have a choice of one from several [applicants]. And that several is going to be bigger in the future because of the flexibility.'' Mr Kwan said the changes would help with the expected growing demand for teachers. Some objections to the changes were expressed by the Legislative Council Education Panel.