Secondary schools have reacted angrily to proposals to open up university admission to more sixth-form pupils, saying it would severely damage young students' development and the quality of their education. The Education Commission has already proposed that secondary schooling be cut back to six years, and university education expanded to four years, with the scheme to be implemented by 2013 at the earliest. But universities have recently argued for an earlier introduction of four-year university by expanding and lowering the criteria for the existing Early Admission Scheme (EAS), which admits Form Six students with at least six As in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE). However, the universities' proposal was yesterday strongly criticised by the Hong Kong Subsidised Secondary Schools Council, which represents 368 of the 475 local secondary schools. Anissa Chan Wong Lai-kuen, the council's chairwoman, said: 'If the EAS is expanded, the main purpose of studies for over 80,000 Form Four and Five students would be, to a large extent, getting sufficient A's in the HKCEE in order to get into university through the scheme. 'The 'whole-person development' so much emphasised in the education reform would become a slogan rather than a reality.' Students who failed to qualify for the EAS would be demoralised and rate themselves as 'second-class', she added. Dr Chan said six-year secondary schooling could be introduced in 2008, at the earliest, if the education sector focused its energy on reforming the secondary curriculum and public exams in preparation for the shift.