Rush to study early education as government prepares for free kindergarten policy

By Ben Pang

A new scheme to offer free kindergarten places has seen early education applications soar

By Ben Pang |

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Early childhood education topped the list of university programmes popular with Form Six students who found out their DSE exam results last Wednesday. Form Six students needed to have decided which programmes they wanted to study last December, and could change their preferences last week on their Joint University Programmes Admissions System (JUPAS) accounts.

Applicants to the early childhood education programme at Education University faced the fiercest competition. 1612 students applied for 18 places: that’s 90 students competing for each place.

Hok Yau Club Student Guidance Centre director Ng Po-shing explained the surge in interest was due to the prospect of a guaranteed job after studying.

“Its massive popularity corresponds with the free kindergarten scheme, which will be in place from the 2017-18 school year,” he said. “The policy is one of the highlights of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s address. In preparation for this policy, more manpower is needed. This explains why early childhood education emerged as a hot choice when many students are looking for a brighter career prospect,” said Ng.

Ng added that only Education University offered the fully government-funded undergraduate degree in early childhood education.

The competition for Broad Discipline of Social Sciences at Polytechnic University was also fierce, with 708 students competing for 11 places. This means only one in 64 pupils will get a place.

Engineering programmes are among the students’ top choices at the University of Hong Kong and Chinese University. The HKU course attracted 1194 applications for 443 places, while there were 2,151 application for 501 places at CUHK.

Quantitative finance at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology was also popular, attracting 70 applicants for just 12 places. For the Bachelor of Arts course at Lingnan University, 1,116 applicants are competing for 32 places.

For government-subsidised higher-diploma programmes at the PolyU, the hotel management course was particularly popular, with 4635 applications for 75 places

The results of this year’s Joint University Programmes Admissions System (Jupas) will be declared on August 8.