TEACHER training colleges received good response this year with all their places filled under the relaxed entrance requirements. The four government-run colleges of education - Sir Robert Black, Northcote, Grantham and Hong Kong Technical Teachers' College - admitted 1,290 students for their two-year and three-year programmes. The figure is 17 per cent more than the 1,100 places offered. The Education Department received 3,455 applications for the two-year courses for Advanced-level students, and 780 of them were admitted for the 660 places, a rise of 85 per cent from last year. For the three-year courses for HKCEE students, 5,860 applications were received and 510 were admitted, including 130 for the Chinese courses and 380 for the English courses. Although the number is smaller than that of last year, it is still more than enough to fill the 440 places. The department took in more than enough students as it expects some students to turn down the offer when they find better choices from other tertiary institutes. The department said whether the boost of applicants was due to the revised entry requirements was still unknown. But it will study the information of applicants in October to see how many students entered by revised requirements. A report will be submitted to the Legislative Council's education penal for reference. The department first proposed a change of entry requirements to allow students to enter the colleges this school year with 11 points, or a grade E in six HKCEE subjects over an unspecified time. The proposal aroused dissatisfaction among the public. People feared the standard would drop under the relaxed requirements. Students of the education colleges skipped classes to protest against the proposal. The department then revised the requirements so students who have passed six subjects at two sittings of the HKCEE, at least four subjects in one sitting, are qualified to join the colleges. In the past, to meet the basic requirements for admission, applicants must obtain in one sitting of the HKCEE a grade E or above in six subjects. The Education Department insists the purpose of the revisions is not to lower the existing admission requirements, but to make them more flexible so a greater number of candidates will be considered. It says the new requirements will not lower the standard of the students. They will widen the choice of candidates and help with the growing demand for teachers.