Knowledge lacks depth

staff reporter

Examiners say HKDSE candidates don't grasp issues or words

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Weak knowledge of words and local and national affairs are major flaws of Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) candidates, says the examination authority.

Its report says students did not do well on questions related to politics. In liberal studies, students had to discuss the effect of filibustering (a strategy of non-stop talking) by lawmakers in Hong Kong. The report says many students are not able to look at the problem from a public interest point of view. Instead, many chose to focus on the debate between having effective government and a political system that is accepted by society, showing that they do not have an in-depth understanding of the issue.

In another question on national identity, many candidates were confused about national affairs. A question required students to analyse the reasons Hongkongers take part in national affairs and how that involvement makes their national identity stronger. But many candidates did not understand the question and focused only on discussing the conflicts that exist between locals and mainlanders.

Candidates earned low marks by using examples such as parallel traders buying powdered baby formula, reducing the supply available to local families, and babies whose parents are exploiting the local medical system to show how Hongkongers had developed negative attitudes towards mainlanders.

Writing instead about Hong Kong people strengthening their national identity by visiting the Shanghai World Expo, for example, scored better.

The report also cited English word errors, both written ("frist" instead of "first", for example) and oral (pronouncing "heavy" instead of "healthy").

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