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Apr 1, 2021

Hong Kong to rename liberal studies and require students visit mainland China

Hong Kong will rename the liberal studies programme taught to older students and require they visit mainland China as part of wide-reaching reforms to the controversial subject. Some teachers express alarm over the changes, noting not all align with suggestions made in a three-year review by a task force.

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Mar 25, 2021

Education Bureau finds ‘inadequacies’ in development of history exams for Hong Kong secondary school students

A government task force investigating the development of this year’s history exams for secondary school students has concluded a Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) officer did not do his job properly.

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Mar 23, 2021

As Hong Kong's academic year begins, it's unclear what can legally be said in a classroom

University lecturers are unclear with what can legally be said in a classroom and whether student activism is a thing of the past. Citing vague language and sweeping nature of the security law gives little guidance to those on how to stay on the right side.

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Feb 1, 2021

Hong Kong Extends School Closures Until Lunar New Year

Hong Kong pushed back the re-opening of classrooms for more than a month as part of government measures to stamp out the spread of the coronavirus.

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Dec 29, 2020

School classes cancelled until new year as Hong Kong reports new Covid-19 cases

Hong Kong schools are suspending face-to-face classes until the Christmas break. The Education Bureau is working to provide options for students to complete necessary exams and assessments, but many are concerned about secondary school placement and public examinations.

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Aug 20, 2020

Hong Kong schools seek review of students’ poorer-than-expected results as International Baccalaureate grading sparks dismay, global petition

Hong Kong’s biggest international school group has joined thousands of students worldwide in demanding that the International Baccalaureate explain poorer-than-expected grades based on schoolwork, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of written examinations. A global online petition is being circulated and has drawn over 23,000 signatures so far.

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Aug 19, 2020

Hong Kong protests and coronavirus pandemic drive record stress levels for school leavers awaiting Diploma of Secondary Education results

Hong Kong school leavers are more stressed than ever, worrying about exam test results and job prospects due to the double whammy of the COVID-19 pandemic and anti-government protests. Over 52,000 Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) candidates encountered major disruption to their final year.

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Hong Kong SAR, China


The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) is at the gateway of the Pearl River Delta and Guangdong Province in China. The population of Hong Kong is over six million people. Hong Kong's ninety-nine year history as a British colony ended on July 1, 1997 when Hong Kong and the New Territories were returned to Chinese sovereignty. Hong Kong retains a high degree of autonomy in all areas except foreign affairs and defense. Its present free market system and lifestyle, including education, are to remain unchanged until 2047.

Hong Kong's historic role as Asia's major economic broker has been challenged by Singapore to the south and Shanghai to the north. The 1997 Asian economic meltdown impacted Hong Kong just as the British were changing the guard for the last time. A few years later SARS arrived with a further negative impact on Hong Kong's economy.


The Hong Kong education system, overseen by the Education Bureau and with roots in the British examination system, has restricted access to higher education. For example, since 1994, only a total of 14,500 places have been available for first year students at universities supported by the Hong Kong government. As a result the government has proposed short and long term education reforms.

Education reforms have included changing the medium of instruction (MOI) from English to mostly Chinese at the secondary school level, modifying the curriculum, expanding IT in education, creating additional educational opportunities for secondary school leavers and other management issues. Proposed reforms have included relying less on assessment by examination and restructuring the education ladder to six years primary, three years lower secondary, three years senior secondary and four years tertiary.

To expand educational opportunities for secondary school leavers, the Hong Kong government provided funds in 2002 to both public and private providers to establish associate degree programs on a fee-paying basis. Scholarship assistance was also available for students. A major goal for local students who enter the associate degree program is to gain admission to a Hong Kong university. Other students enroll in off-shore ordinary bachelor degree programs through the continuing education unit(s) of Hong Kong universities. A few apply for transfer credit to US four-year institutions.

Hong Kong has one educational system/district that is "governed" by two complementary but powerful governmental agencies including the University Grants Committee which has financial oversight of tertiary education as well as the Education Bureau that oversees the development of education policy at all levels.

The academic year of post-secondary institutions is from September to April or May. The majority of the programs operate on a two-semester system, while some programs are on a three-semester system. Please consult the individual institution's web site for specific information.

The language of Instruction at most institutions, depending on the program, will be either English or Chinese.


Upcoming AACRAO Events

Crises as Catalysts for Transformation

Fall 2020 | virtual conference

Join us this fall for a virtual Strategic Enrollment Management Conference - Crises as Catalysts for Transformation: 2020’s Impact on Higher Education and Enrollment.

This three day, virtual conference will feature models for adapting to change, meeting challenges, and planning strategically post-pandemic.

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106th AACRAO Annual Meeting

March 28 - 31, 2021 | National Harbor, MD

AACRAO’s Annual Meeting is our largest convening of higher education professionals from around the world. Join more than 2,000 administrators in person or online as we work to address the issues facing today’s campuses, share goals and guidelines for meeting those challenges, and provide a forum for learning and sharing experiences.

Explore the Annual Meeting