The number of Hong Kong students studying abroad will slightly increase over last year, education consultants say.
This comes as more than 7,100 parents and students visited the two-day biennial British Council's Education UK Exhibition.
Some Secondary Six students were seeking opportunities to study overseas as another option, while others said they prefer dropping out of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination to study abroad because of competition for SAR university places.
As of January 14, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service already received 3,803 applications for entry to British universities.
International Studies Service Center administrative manager Ada Tam Tse-wai estimated there will be 5 to 10 percent more students applying for universities in Britain. "They find that chances for getting into universities in Hong Kong are slim - even though they meet the entry requirements - so they prefer studying abroad. Britain is still the most popular among other destinations," Tam said.
British United Education Service director Flora Yung Hin-yan said parents "are still not confident about the new HKDSE." She said the number of inquiries to study in Britain has increased 20 percent this year, and the BUES expects a similar rise in applications for the pre- university foundation program, which allows students to enrol in a university after completion of the one-year course.
"For Secondary Five students, they can start off with the program and enroll in university. In this case, they will graduate even one year earlier than their Hong Kong classmates [because Britain runs a three- year university system]," Yung said. However, Ng Po-shing, vice director of the Student Guidance Center of Hok Yau Club, expects the number of students dropping out of HKDSE and studying abroad will stabilize this year.
About 6,400 students applied to study in British universities this school year, up 36 percent from 2011-12. A total of 3,916 students were eventually admitted this school year, representing a 20.8 percent increase over the previous year.