Hundreds of students are expected to sit Hong Kong’s university entrance exams in mainland China after at least four schools across the border applied to serve as assessment centres, according to sector leaders.
Two heads of mainland-based schools catering to Hong Kong pupils on Monday said education authorities on both sides of the border had visited their campuses earlier in the year to review their suitability for hosting the tests.
“They gave us some concrete suggestions on the lighting in an examination setting. They also checked if our teachers were qualified to be invigilators,” said Jonathan Lai Ping-wah, chief principal of the Affiliated School of Jinan University for Hong Kong and Macau Students (Dongguan).
Lai told the Post that four out of the six mainland schools teaching Hong Kong students, including his, had applied to become Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) exam centres.
The principal said he expected there to be more pupils on the mainland sitting the exams in future if the applications were approved, as the venues would be much closer to them.
“It seems to be the [new] phenomenon,” the principal said.
The Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority amended regulations last year to allow institutions outside the city offering the DSE curriculum to apply to become “participating schools” and serve as exam centres for the first time.
Mainland pupils studying for the DSE at local institutions would also be able to sit the exams at the approved schools under the arrangements.
A few hundred pupils will study for the DSE on the mainland next year, including more than 100 at schools catering to Hongkongers, according to Lai’s estimates.
Before the move, pupils studying for the DSE on the mainland would need to travel to Hong Kong to sit the exams.
According to Lai, the three other schools were Shenzhen Hong Kong Pui Kiu College Longhua Xinyi School, Affiliated School of Jinan University for Hong Kong and Macau’s Students and Minxin Hong Kong School, both in Guangzhou.
He said a team of more than a dozen staff members from mainland and Hong Kong authorities visited his school in May to determine its readiness to offer the curriculum and host the exams. Students will begin to study for the DSE in 2025.
The proposed venue at his school could accommodate more than 200 test takers, he said.
The team also checked whether the residential facilities at the school were sufficient as staff members from Hong Kong, invigilators and candidates living far away might need to stay overnight during the exam period.
Lai said he did not know whether his school’s application would be approved or when a decision would be made.
Tommy Wong Tang-tat, principal of Shenzhen Hong Kong Pui Kiu College Longhua Xinyi School, also confirmed authorities had visited his school a few months earlier after it had applied to become an exam venue.
“They checked how large the exam venue was, its safety and sound system and so on … they hope the exam can be conducted in a fair, just and safe environment,” Wong said.
His school, which could accommodate about 200 pupils sitting an exam at a time at its venue, had not learned of the result of its application, he said.
A spokeswoman for the Education Bureau said “several” schools in the Greater Bay Area that were offering the DSE intended to apply to have their pupils sit exams locally.
The city’s exams authority said it was processing the applications from the schools for Hong Kong students on the mainland and would announce more information later.