More than 2,000 Hong Kong students quit higher education in 2020

  • The city saw the highest number university students drop out in a decade, likely due to the effects of social unrest and the coronavirus
  • Polytechnic University saw the most students abandon their studies, followed by City University and HKU
Kelly Fung |

Latest Articles

Organisers say Hong Kong’s largest LGBTQ fest, Pink Dot, is a success

Beekeepers’ mission to convince Hong Kong that bees are our neighbours

The Lens: Debunk misconceptions to fix gender disparity in organ donors

A record number of undergraduates and other students in higher education dropped out last year. Photo: SCMP/Winson Wong

The city has seen its highest number of university student dropouts in the last academic year – 2,021 in total, according to the latest statistics released by the University Grants Committee.

Polytechnic University suffered the most, with 505 students quitting, followed by City University and the University of Hong Kong with 362 and 357 respectively. The number of dropouts includes those who studied sub-degree programmes, bachelor’s degrees and taught postgraduate programmes.

Bachelor’s degree programmes lost the most students, with 1,804 throwing in the towel, making it the highest number in the past decade.

The social unrest that began in June 2019 and the Covid-19 pandemic starting last year have led to suspension of classes and online learning for all Hong Kong students.

Clement Ng Po-shing, the director of Hok Yau Club’s Student Guidance Centre, said there were many reasons for students to drop out given the social and political events of the past year.

“This year, there are more people leaving Hong Kong and emigrating to other countries,” he said, adding that they have grown to “dislike” the city as they worried about its prospects.

“Some students quit university as they think it’s better to study overseas due to education reforms and the political environment.”

He said students also lack the motivation they get from in-person classes, while some are considering changing their major.

“Some are forced to quit as they feel unable to catch up with their studies, and wish to change to a subject that they are more interested in,” he said.

Some students choose to re-Jupas (Joint University Programmes Admissions System) or retake the HKDSE exams hoping to change their studies. Jupas decides what degrees students can take, based on their DSE results.

Sign up for the YP Teachers Newsletter
Get updates for teachers sent directly to your inbox
By registering, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy