HKDSE - Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education
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Diploma of Secondary Education candidates take the English exam in April at Ying Wah College, Cheung Sha Wan. Photo: Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority

LettersThanks to supply and demand, this year’s DSE cohort may be one of the luckiest yet

  • Universities will be competing for fewer DSE candidates this year even as the study subsidy scheme and sub-degree programmes offer plenty of options
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It’s about that time of the year when Diploma of Secondary Education students start worrying about their results. But the students this year must know they are probably the luckiest cohort because they have a lot more to choose from.

A few years ago, you might have to struggle a little with only 14 points, but not this year.

It’s all about supply and demand.

The number of DSE candidates has dropped from 74,131 in 2015 to 50,064 this year. Yes, there are also students graduating via the International Baccalaureate and A-level curriculums, but traditionally, these students are more likely to pursue their higher education overseas and hence do not really add to the competition for local university places.

Meanwhile, the supply of post-DSE options has increased. Earlier this year, the Legislative Council approved the University Grants Committee’s funding application to maintain roughly the same number of undergraduate places (15,000) over the next three years. But while the supply of government-funded places at the eight universities remains the status quo, overall, students actually have more choices. The Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors will subsidise 3,075 places in 44 undergraduate programmes of eight private postsecondary institutions for the cohort to be admitted in the 2022/23 academic year. Compared to the 1,000 places when the scheme was launched in 2015/16, the supply of places has tripled.

Even if you are unable to receive an offer from a degree programme, there is always the option of pursuing a sub-degree programme for two years before transferring to a degree programme. I teach global marketing at the Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, and many of my year three students are senior year entrants who came from other local institutions that offer sub-degree programmes. When they graduate, they will have the same degree as those who were admitted in year one.

My message to the students who might feel a little disappointed about their DSE results is that there are more opportunities out there than you think. Even if you fall short of the minimum entrance requirement, it may still be worth your while to apply. Universities this year will probably be more willing to adopt a more open-minded admission policy because of the fierce competition for students.

Roy Ying, senior lecturer, department of marketing, School of Business, Hang Seng University of Hong Kong