Hong Kong exam authority raises DSE fees by 4 per cent, citing decline in entrants
New fees will raise cost for typical candidate taking six subjects, including two languages and four other subjects, to HK$3,012
Hong Kong students will face a bigger bill for taking the test required to graduate from secondary school, for the fourth consecutive year, as the city’s examination authority grapples with deficits because of a decreasing number of entrants and the dire need for a technological upgrade.
The greater financial burden for students sitting for the Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (DSE) was announced on Friday by the Examinations and Assessment Authority, which said fees would increase by 4 per cent.
The DSE is Hong Kong’s most important public exam for students who want to climb the higher education ladder.
Students will enjoy a DSE fee waiver next year, as announced by Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po in his budget speech this year. But private candidates – or non-students taking the exam – still have to pay. The government is expected to allocate HK$170 million (US$21.6 million) to benefit about 50,000 students.
The fee for language subjects will be increased HK$25 to HK$644 per subject while other subjects will see a HK$17 increase to HK$431. An additional fee for private candidates will be adjusted to HK$494.
With the new fees, the DSE cost for a typical candidate taking six subjects, including two languages and four other subjects, will be HK$3,012.
In explaining the increases, the authority said it was a self-financing organisation and was not government-subsidised, adding its income mainly comes from the fees.
“The income of public examinations has been adversely affected by the continuous drop in candidature in recent years. It is projected that a deficit will be recorded for the DSE even after the fee increment in 2019,” it said in a statement.
The authority said it would also add more resources for upgrading its IT systems, a measure that has exerted greater pressure on its finances.
It pledged to look into ways to increase its revenue and reduce expenses without compromising standards and quality.
The authority and the Education Bureau will discuss the implementation of the fees and announce the registration and payment arrangements at a later date.