'Non-local Chinese exam takers lose out in uni race' - RTHK
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'Non-local Chinese exam takers lose out in uni race'

2022-07-22 HKT 15:08
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  • 'Non-local Chinese exam takers lose out in uni race'
A group focusing on racial equality has urged local universities to come up with a transparent standard for assessing the performance of students who take Chinese-language exams outside the local system.

At a press briefing on Friday, Unison said many students from a non-Chinese-speaking background sit GCSE, GCE or A-level papers instead of the Diploma of Secondary Education, but this may put them at a disadvantage when seeking a university place.

John Tse, the group's executive director, said five out of nine local universities take a case-by-case approach in evaluating students' scores, meaning they may be subject to arbitrary interpretation.

He said other institutions translate alternative Chinese-language exam scores differently, with some saying the highest scores will be treated as DSE level 5** and others saying all passing grades are equivalent to DSE level 3.

Tse added that most universities don't disclose on their website or in brochures how they convert non-DSE Chinese-language exam results, and only provide this information when asked for it.

Mary, who is studying economics and marketing, said she might have gone for a different programme if she had had a clearer idea of what results she had to achieve in her Chinese-language GCSE.

"If they had told me that my A* would be seen as a 5**, then I would have gone for a competitive programme. But because everyone had been telling me that it was like a level 3, I just chose a safe choice in the university I wanted," she said.

Tse said local universities should rectify the situation by devising a conversion mechanism that applies to all of their programmes.

"All universities in Hong Kong should sit down and come to a conclusion that we must tackle this, we must come up with a standardised measurement, a conversion table, which is open to everyone," he said.

"I'm not saying one yardstick is better than the other. I'm just saying if there's no yardstick, then we are not being professional here, we are treating non-Chinese speaking students poorly."

He also called for admission information to be made clear to prospective students of sub-degree programmes, saying many conduct interviews or teach in Chinese.