The education and assessment system is to blame for the failure of students in public exams, the Chief Executive's education policy adviser said yesterday. Education Commission chairman Antony Leung Kam-chung said the 23,000 students who did not have a single subject pass in this year's Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) were products of the present system. 'We created the failures. The current system, which draws a line to classify a certain number of students 'pass' and a certain number of students 'fail', created the so-called failures,' he said. Students who scored no marks in the exam did not necessarily equate to failures, Mr Leung said. They might excel in other non-academic areas, but under the existing system they were not graded in those areas and were labelled failures. Mr Leung, an Executive Councillor, said the commission was concerned about recent findings by the Examinations Authority. The authority's analysis showed that 23,000 students, or about one in six of the candidates entered in this year's HKCEE failed all their subjects. More than 80 per cent of the students at one secondary school failed all their subjects. The authority has refused to name the school. The recent examination results have raised fresh fears about the quality of students and concern over the education and examination systems by which they are taught and judged. Mr Leung said the current system classified the bottom 20 per cent of students as the fifth and final band and it further labelled them as failures. 'We are studying these problems as we review the whole education system. It's too early to say whether we should cancel the whole banding system or reduce the number of bandings,' he said. 'We want to listen to views from the public. We will release our proposed reform framework for consultation at the end of September.' Mr Leung also said the education system review would help solve the problem of gender bias in school place allocation. He said a ruling last week by the Equal Opportunities Commission that there was gender discrimination in the allocation of Form One places was made from the legal viewpoint. Mr Leung said the issue should be seen in broader terms with more educational factors taken into account.