Proposed '3+3+4' academic structure no guarantee that all students will stay on Up to 10 per cent of the future senior secondary students are still expected to drop out of school even after the introduction of the proposed '3+3+4' academic structure in 2008, an educator has said. The reform aims to ensure all students have the opportunity to study for three years at the senior secondary level, as opposed to the present system when only a third of Form Five graduates move on to Form Six. But Lo Kin-ki, deputy executive director of the Vocational Training Council, said the unmotivated would still leave school after finishing Form Three, the cut-off point for compulsory education, or before reaching senior secondary three level, regardless of the curriculum changes. 'The education system would not suit them regardless of what changes are made. That's why there is the need for the reform in basic education. But it will take time before the reform will actually bear fruit,' he said. About 14 per cent of the 113,997 candidates in this year's Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination failed all subjects. Last year, 15.4 per cent of the candidates scored nothing. The bottom 10 per cent of such students had no motivation to learn, Dr Lo said. The VTC offers craft courses for dropouts who prefer doing manual jobs to studying, he added. Philemon Choi Yuen-wan, chairman of the Commission on Youth, agreed there could be as much as a 10 per cent drop out rate: 'Some may want to go to work earlier or move on to career training. The various providers of such training should start looking into their future admissions criteria.' But Dr Lo added the introduction of the career-oriented curriculum for future senior secondary students would benefit most students, including those aiming to enter university. Students will be able to choose subjects from areas ranging from arts and media, leisure, tourism and hospitality to design as electives on top of the four core subjects of Chinese, English, mathematics and liberal studies. The career subjects will appeal to students as they adopt an interactive teaching approach and emphasise continual assessment rather than examinations. 'Students can derive knowledge from actual practice rather than just sitting through a class passively. Students can learn about physics, such as knowledge about light reflection, in a photography course,' Dr Lo said. 'Currently, some subjects are over taught and students cannot apply much of what they have learned in school in real life situations.' Hong Kong has lagged behind countries such as Britain in creating a career-oriented curriculum alongside mainstream courses, according to Dr Lo. The VTC will play a key role in helping implement the new curriculum. Schools lacking the staff or facilities can send their students for classes at institutions run by the VTC, or offer courses jointly with other schools. Dr Lo added the council was ready to help train teachers interested in teaching the subjects. 'Schools can open just one or two career orientated courses. The most important is they don't stigmatise them as pre-employment training. The curriculum can indeed increase the breadth of choices for students and universities. Universities should treat them equally as the mainstream courses they normally consider for admissions purposes.' Lingnan University president Edward Chen Kwan-yiu has said it would not have any specific requirements for electives for admissions purposes. Chris Wardlaw, Deputy Secretary for Education and Manpower, said the government's goal was to engage all students in senior secondary education. 'About 2 per cent of the students at Form Three, Form Four level go off to vocational courses and exit from schools. Our ambition in the new system is to ensure that there is sufficient choice and diversity so every student can find their interests and orientation.'