"Early anrolment of top Form Sixstudent" Scheme
Date of sitting: 17 April 2002
Asked by: The Hon Ambrose LAU
Replied by: SEM
Regarding the Early Enrolment of Top Secondary Six Students Scheme launched by a number of local universities for direct enrolment of students who obtained outstanding academic results in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination, will the Government inform this Council whether:
- it has studied the pros and cons of the Scheme; if so, of the details; and
- it knows if the universities concerned have conducted comprehensive consultations with secondary school principals and the education sector before launching the scheme; if so, of the outcome; if not, the reasons for that?
In the Education Commission (EC)'s consultation document on the Review of Education System issued in May 2000, the idea of allowing universities to admit a small number of outstanding secondary six students was raised. During the consultation, some people have expressed concern about possible confusion and competition among universities for outstanding students. After weighing the pros and cons, the EC supports the introduction of greater flexibility the education system (especially in the senior secondary and post-secondary stages) so that students can adjust their pace of learning according to their abilities and individual circumstances. If universities are only allowed to admit a small number of secondary six students, the impact on secondary schools should be minimal. In this connection, the UGC has agreed with UGC-funded institutions that -
- advance placement for secondary six students should be based on exceptional merit, and institutions have to absorb additional resources requirements for these students; and
- the number of students admitted under this arrangement should not exceed 2% of an institution's first-year-first-degree places.
With the above mechanism in place, we believe that the scheme will introduce greater flexibility into the education system, without causing disruption to the secondary school sector.
Some University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded institutions have announced plans to recruit outstanding secondary six students into their undergraduate programmes. The recruitment exercise has just begun and the earliest intakes under the scheme will only commence their undergraduate studies in the 2002/03 academic year. We shall monitor the scheme closely and consider whether the scheme should be continued and responded in the light of its effects on the students and on teaching and learning in universities and at senior secondary level.
- (b) The recruitment of students is part of an institution's autonomy. In addition to EC's consultation exercise referred to in (a) above, we understand that some institutions have consulted the secondary school sector through informal channels. One of the institutions has also consulted organisations, such as the Grant Schools Council and the Hong Kong Subsidized Secondary Schools Council, on the scheme.
In general, institutions concerned have received favourable responses from students and the secondary school sector.