DSE exam students get fee break this year

Local | Sophie Hui 14 Mar 2019

Students taking the Diploma of Secondary Education examination this year don't need to pay any exam fees as it will be subsidized.

They can also use a new mobile application function to check their exam times and locations, says the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority.

However, it remains unclear if students in the future will have to pay heftier DSE fees, as the authority reported a loss of HK$70 million for organizing the exam in 2017/18.

The total number of candidates continued to drop as 56,305 will take this year's exam, 2,700 fewer than last year.

The government has offered non-recurrent funding of HK$360 million to support the authority's operations for the next four years.

But its secretary general, So Kwok-sang, said there is no direct correlation between the funding and the DSE exam fees.

"Whether to increase the exam fees or not, we have to consider different factors such as the inflation rate, the financial burden on families and general economic conditions," he said. "The HKEAA's financial situation is only one of the factors."

He also said it was a smooth process for the government to pay the exam fees for the 48,000 students sitting for the DSE this year. So expects 46,000 to benefit from the measure next year.

"Our principle is to not cause any inconvenience to candidates," he said.

So also said the government must decide whether the subsidy should be regularized.

Although the authority lost money in last year's exam, the revenue stream from other international and professional exams increased by HK$8 million, reducing the loss to HK$10 million.

The authority will hold discussions with the government over its long-term financial arrangements.

So stressed the authority will continue to open up new sources of revenue and cut back on expenditure.

Asked if the authority will promote the DSE exam in the Greater Bay Area, So said there are no plans to do so yet, but the authority will keep an open mind.

However, So said it needs schools to teach the DSE curriculum before letting students take the exam.

DSE candidates began their Chinese-language oral exam on Monday. The overall assessment period for the oral exam will last for eight days.

Candidates will take written exams for the four core subjects - Chinese language, English, mathematics and liberal studies - between April 1 and 8.

The authority has also upgraded the HKDSE app, which enables candidates to check their exam schedule.

However, it said students still need to bring their admission forms to their exams.

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