Talking points: Should the HKDSE be postponed because of the ongoing protests?


Hate it when you can’t talk back? Well, you can with Young Post. Have your say and share with students around Hong Kong

Kelly Ho |

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With all the protest-related chaos happening in Hong Kong, should the DSEs be suspended?

Anson Tsia Sun-kam, 13, SKH Tang Shiu Kin Secondary School

Of course! The HKDSE is a test of each students’ six years of learning at secondary school. If any ongoing social problems disrupt a student’s preparation for this high-stakes exam, it should be postponed. For example, school suspensions reduced the amount of time students had for last minute study at school and opportunities for feedback from teachers. Even when these protests are over, students will no doubt remain emotionally affected by the events that happened during this time, which may make it difficult for them to focus on their studies. Some students might also have faced safety issues during the protests. To ensure fairness, the HKDSE should be put off so that candidates will be able to try their best to study, and prepare for it. 

Tina Li Nga-kwan, 14, Pope Paul VI College

I think so. More than 4,000 people have been arrested by the police since June, quite a few of them are students preparing for the HKDSE this year. They can’t do any revision while arrested, so I’m sure there will be a certain gap in their exam performance. What’s more, the learning progress of other candidates has been, more or less, affected by the instability in Hong Kong, as tutorial classes got cancelled and classes got suspended. Also, no one knows how long the ongoing protests will last. Whether the candidates are protesters or not, their performance in the HKDSE may be affected, and it will seriously affect their future. So, I think the HKDSE should be postponed.

Should students with special educational needs be taught separately? 

Kensei Lai, 17, Ma On Shan Tsung Tsin Secondary School

Definitely not. Postponing the HKDSE could have a domino effect, causing the schedule of university activities like interviews and orientation camps to be delayed. Perhaps even the start of the next school year may also be postponed. This could cause even more chaos and confusion, as it will upset all academic year schedules. It would also be unfair to Form Six students who have spent so much time preparing for this exam. If the ongoing social unrest shows no signs of stopping, it may raise uncertainity as to when the exam can be held, which will add even more pressure on those taking this exam. 

Nick Po, 17, Po Leung Kuk Mrs Ma Kam Ming-Cheung Fook Sien College

Postponing the HKDSE is fairer for all candidates. The violence in Hong Kong has caused classes to be suspended and a lot of school-based assessments, like the Independent Enquiry Study, were also halted. The revision schedule is now extremely tight and students may not be able to revise effectively. Not to mention the fact that some students are in no mood to prepare for the exam, as injustice in society leads to tremendous pressure and anxiety. The exam may also be disrupted by protesters, creating unexpected situations, such as protesting in an exam hall. I think the HKDSE should be postponed. 

Jimmy Lam, 15, SKH Leung Kwai Yee Secondary School

No. The HKDSE is usually held on weekdays, while the protests usually appear during weekends. In most circumstances, protests will not clash with the HKDSE. If we postpone the HKDSE, it could also be an excuse for candidates not to study for the exam. And, if it is postponed, it may also cause some administrative problems, for example, the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority may need to allocate more resources if it postpones the HKDSE. 

Should schools replace one hour of class per week with self-study?

Eric Leung, 17, Fung Kai No 1 Secondary School

In the past few months, the protests in Hong Kong have led to the suspension of classes and students' studying has been affected. Still, I don’t think the HKDSE should be postponed. Students can still study at home, which may be more effective, as they can focus on their weaker areas. Also, protests may not happen on exam days, so I believe there is no need to postpone the HKDSE. 

Alice Fan Hau-ching, 14, Pope Paul VI College 

I think the HKDSE should not be postponed. Firstly, the exam is held in April to June next year, so there is no point in postponing it when we do not even know if the protests will continue until then. I think it will cause more trouble to delay the exam, because it will lead to questions such as whether is it fair to those who sat this exam in previous years, when the 2020 candidates had more time to study. I think for now, it is best not to do anything that may lead to further trouble. 

Ashamed Sultan, 12, HKMA David Li Kwok Po College

Yes, I think it should. The ongoing protests in Hong Kong have led to damage to public transport links and disruption to MTR services. More importantly, classes were suspended for six days. As the HKDSE is around the corner, teachers are very likely to cram all materials into just a couple of months, which will be very stressful for Form Six students. They may not perform well on their big test, so it’s better to postpone the exam. 

Should students be required to do homework over the summer?

Burt Zheng, 17, Fung Kai No. 1 Secondary School

Definitely not. The ongoing protests have calmed down lately. Most people have realised that protesters are vandalising public infrastructure that belongs to all Hongkongers, in the name of fighting for democracy. I don’t think they should do things like that any more. We must not keep turning a blind eye to it. The HKDSE is four months away. I firmly believe that by that time it will be peaceful again and all Form Six students can sit this exam under normal circumstances. 

Johnson Fu, 17, Po Leung Kuk Mrs. Ma Kam Ming-Cheung Fook Sien College

As students, our responsibility is to focus on studying and preparing for the HKDSE. However, there is little doubt that the ongoing protests and the clashes between police and protesters have seriously disrupted Hong Kong. With the escalating conflict, it is difficult for students to concentrate on their studies, as they keep up to date about protests and it makes them sad or furious. Postponing the HKDSE would give candidates extra time to ensure that they are well-prepared, and not sidetracked by this social movement.

In our next Talking Points, we’ll discuss:

Should friends break up because of opposing political beliefs?

We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to [email protected] by lunchtime on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.