- Students planning to pursue studies in medicine say they want to support local healthcare sector and combat manpower shortage
- Those staying acknowledge tough times during coronavirus pandemic but say they will remain in Hong Kong to help ‘bring back the good days’
Six out of eight top scorers in the university entrance exams in Hong Kong this year intend to pursue their studies locally to become doctors, with most of them setting their sights on Chinese University (CUHK).
Only one among this elite group will go abroad to the UK for further studies in humanities and social science.
All eight of Hong Kong’s high fliers in this year’s Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) examinations come from different schools – King’s College, Queen’s College, Diocesan Girls’ School, Heep Yunn School, Queen Elizabeth School, La Salle College, Pui Ching Middle School and Carmel Secondary School.
Five male students and three females scored a perfect 5** across seven subjects. Of those, four candidates, two males and two females, were so-called super top scorers who earned a 5** for an extended mathematics module elective, meaning they scored perfectly in a total of eight subjects.
Being among the city’s four super top scorers came as a surprise for 18-year-old Andy Tsang Chi-pang from Carmel Secondary School. He is the school’s first-ever high scorer, with the Ho Man Tin institution having a relatively more humble background compared with the campuses of other top performers.
Tsang, a maths enthusiast, said he would choose the Quantitative Finance and Risk Management Science Programme at CUHK. He will be the only one among seven of the top scorers opting to remain in the city to further their studies, who will pursue a non-medical field.
“I can only say it is really unexpected to receive such an excellent result. I haven’t even told my parents yet, since the result is really unbelievable,” said an elated Tsang, who added he wanted to continue studying in the city because of a “sense of belonging”, as well as for his friends and family.
Another six top scorers picked medicine in local universities as their preferred choice, with three of them having their minds made up on CUHK.
Among them was Calvin Tse Shing-chun, 17, a super scorer at Queen Elizabeth School, who was “delighted” to learn about his results.
He said the pandemic played a role in his career planning. “It’s heart-wrenching to see a lot of patients failing to receive proper care. Having received years of free education in the city, I have been thinking of what I can do to contribute to our society and I think being a doctor is a meaningful choice.”
Born and raised in Hong Kong, the star student said he had no plans to leave his home city. “Even though there have been many depressing events happening in Hong Kong in recent years, this is still the place that I grew up in. As a Hongkonger, I think I have the responsibility to stay and make a change.”
Super top scorer Kristy Chow Hoi-tung from Heep Yunn School was also eyeing the same subject. She hopes to become a doctor serving the understaffed public sector.
The 17-year-old is the second top scorer from her school, the previous being in 2014, since the DSE exams started in 2012. “A lot of my friends and relatives have emigrated but I have no plans for that so far, ” Chow said.
“I was born and raised here. I know that the grass roots mostly use public hospitals. A lot of doctors have poured their hearts out to serve but the problem is manpower shortage,” she added, pointing out that she hoped increasing student places at medical schools would help alleviate the problem.
Top scorer Xavier Mak Ho-pong, 17, from Queen’s College, also said the lack of manpower in the healthcare industry fuelled his drive to pursue medicine.
“The government had to import some overseas healthcare workers recently, which showed the seriousness of this problem, that’s why I would like to be part of the industry,” Mak, who also opted for CUHK, said.
He attained 5** in seven subjects including chemistry, biology and physics, and 5* in the mathematics extended part module 2.
Another super top scorer, 18-year-old Jerone Chiu from Pui Ching Middle School, also has medical aspirations, but she chose the University of Hong Kong.
She said God played a big part in her life and that she hoped to spread blessings by helping patients in need. “I think hospitals in the public and private sectors should cooperate, allocating manpower and resources.”
“Besides, I think as the government allows doctors who studied overseas to join the medical system, the shortage of manpower will improve,” Chiu added.
Meanwhile, top scorers Kam Chung-hin, 17, from King’s College in Mid-Levels, and Jason Cheung Yan Shek, 17, from La Salle College in Kowloon City, were still undecided on their local university of choice, but also intend to further their studies in the medical field.
“I understand that the government policy has changed and they welcome medical graduates from overseas to become doctors here, but still I love Hong Kong … I hope I can work here because the city still has its Lion Rock spirit,” Kam said.
Cheung added: “Being a doctor, you have the responsibility to formulate the best treatment plans for patients. I enjoy taking up such a responsibility.”
He was also confident about his future pursuits in Hong Kong, citing political stability brought by the national security law. “After the legislation, there are fewer political disputes in society, and it has become more harmonious.”
“Many people choose to move abroad because they feel like Hong Kong has ‘changed’. That is exactly the reason why I choose to stay, to help bring back the good days and make Hong Kong better.”
Top scorer Jacqueline Sin Ka-long from Diocesan Girls’ School is the only one among the top eight who will leave Hong Kong for Cambridge University to study Human, Social and Political Science.
Though she is considering a future working for NGOs, government, or international organisations, she sees her choice of study in the UK as a chance to expand her horizons.
“I chose this subject at Cambridge specifically because I think it is very flexible … For example, at this moment International relations is my main focus but I am a very adaptable person and I haven’t fully made up my mind yet,” the 18-year-old said.
She added that she intended to return to the city after completing her education, noting “I have stayed in Hong Kong all my life and all my friends and family are here”.
Asked about the impact of the pandemic on her studies, Sin thanked her school, parents and friends for their support in the face of “unprecedented challenges”.
“When I was studying at home, sometimes my parents would help me create a quiet environment in which to focus … For my friends we often used online platforms to check on each other’s progress and encourage and motivate each other”.
She encouraged juniors to remain interested in hobbies and socialising with friends, while “staying connected to the people who can support you”.