A new system granting university admission to candidates with indifferent academic records but outstanding non-academic achievements has come under criticism from some academics. The Polytechnic University introduced the change this year, following the Chinese University which brought in a similar system a year ago. The aim is to reduce over-reliance on test scores and encourage all-round development. 'Self-recommendation' allows applicants to list awards in international or regional competitions in areas such as music, creative writing or art, and to detail successes in inter-school races or community service. But Tim Hamlett, associate professor in the Department of Journalism at Baptist University, described the new system as 'completely incomprehensible' and too arbitrary. 'It will certainly include some people winning or losing on the admissions roulette wheel in circumstances which reek of unfairness,' he said. 'The situation is shameful.' Wilson Wong Wai-ho, assistant professor in the Department of Government and Public Administration at the Chinese University, also expressed reservations while supporting the system in principle. He said that it was difficult to find an objective mechanism for non-academic achievement. 'If the students are less competent in the academic field, they will find it tough,' Professor Wong said. But Polytechnic University president Professor Poon Chung-kwong said standards still had to be met. 'If the applicants do not meet our minimum entry requirements, they will not be considered, no matter how well they perform in non-academic areas,' he said. The university had not assigned definite quotas for applicants entering through the self-recommendation scheme. 'Universities can no longer [only] consider students' results in public examinations. They should take concrete action to change the long-standing examination-driven culture,' he said. About 1,900 self-recommendation forms have been received and eligible students will be interviewed this week. In May, the Education Commission recommended that universities give more weight to all-round performance when admitting students.