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Education in Hong Kong

Hong Kong
Post-Graduate StudyPG
Tertiary EducationYear 3
Year 2
Year 1
Hong Kong Advanced-Level Education
Advanced Level Course
Hong Kong Certificate of Education Exam
Senior Secondary School
Junior Secondary SchoolS3
Primary SchoolP6
Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997; as a result, its education system follows a British pattern. There is a three-year kindergarten education followed by six-year primary education, three-year junior secondary education, two-year senior secondary education and a two-year matriculation course leading to the Advanced Level examinations. There are tertiary institutions offering bachelor's degree, higher diploma and associate degree courses.

Since the 1970s, a policy of nine-year free and compulsory education has been launched in Hong Kong. It includes six years of primary education and first three years of secondary education.

Primary education in Hong Kong covers a wide curriculum. It basically includes Chinese, English, mathematics, social studies, science, health education, music, physical education, and art and craft. The teaching medium in most of the schools is Chinese with English as a second language. Junior secondary education is an all-rounded general education. Students will stream in either art, science or business study in secondary four. The teaching medium in individual secondary school bases on its own policy. Tertiary education is one of the core parts in education system in Hong Kong. The number of tertiary education graduates was proposed to be increased to 60% of the whole population in 2010. Therefore the numbers of degree programmes, associate degree programmes and higher diploma programmes will be increased in the coming years.

There is central allocation of places in junior secondary schools based on academic assessment in primary school. Since the Academic Aptitude Test was canceled in 2000, children's progress in Chinese, English, and mathematics is evaluated yearly with standardized Hong Kong Attainment Tests, while most of the students can enter the senior secondary school according to their internal school performance. After finishing secondary five, students will participate in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE). They will normally take part in three core subjects of English, Chinese, and mathematics. Upon completion of secondary seven, students will sit for the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE). The AS-Level Use of English and Chinese Language and Culture examinations are usually taken. The admission to the tertiary institutions will base on the result of HKALE under the Joint University Programmes Admissions System (JUPAS).

Additional information on current secondary school place allocations

The Academic Aptitude Test was canceled in 2000. But the previous performance of it still affect the current secondary school place allocations. Under the current process of Secondary School Places Allocation, the primary school students' grades are submitted in three examinations(the 2nd term in primary five, the 1st term and 2nd term of primary six). Then the grades are adjusted by the school's overall performance in the Academic Aptitude Test during 1997 to 1999.

Since the rank of a school at the Academic Aptitude Test is determined by the average result of students from the same school, it is quite unfair to those students who perform well at their term tests but finally fail to enter their favourite school because of the poor ranking of their primary school.

Additional information on tertiary education

In the year 2003, there are totally 36660 students who attended the HKALE, 18 049 (50.3%) of them fulfilled the general entry requirement of the 8 universities. That is Chinese and English are E grade or above and at the same time passed at least 2 AL subjects or 1 AL plus 2 AS Level. Students who sit for the HKALE first time is 75.8%. There are totally 19 AL (advanced level) and 20 ASL (advanced supplementary level) subjects. Among the AL and ASL subjects, there are 32 subjects can be chosen to answer with Chinese. But only 30 subjects have students to answer in Chinese.(Source from Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority)

However the local universities can only provide 14500 degree spaces, about 4000 students have to consider other options for further studies, e.g. higher diploma programs and associate degrees.

The duration of the associate degrees and higher diploma programs is commonly 2 years. It is believed that there is not much difference between associate degrees and higher diploma programs. Students of these programmes can either transfer to degree program in local universities or foreign universities.

Those students who finish the associate degrees or highter diploma programs can be directly transferred to second year degree programs. Some of the credits could be transferred with them because some of the courses already covered the first year degree program.

In the past, only a few local universities provide associate degree programmes. As the demand for the programmes is increasing, other organization, such as, PoLeungKuk, Caritas also provide associate degree programmes. Although the tution fee for the courses offered by these organizations is less than those for local universities, the associate degree programmes provided by the local universities are much widely recognized by the general public.

List of colleges and universities in Hong Kong

Tertiary education

See also: List of universities in Hong Kong

Secondary education

See also: