Japan did more good than harm to China, say 38pc of students

Top News | Mandy Zheng 26 May 2020

Nearly four in 10 DSE candidates agreed that Japan "did more good than harm to China during the period 1900 to 1945" when answering the controversial question in the history paper.

Among 5,200 students who sat the exam on May 14, about 38 percent agreed, compared to 57 percent who disagreed with the argument provided in the question. The remaining 5 percent were neutral.

So Kwok-sang, secretary general of the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority, released the figures yesterday at a meeting of the Legislative Council's education panel.

"We believe that candidates might be led by the question to agree with its argument," So said.

But he said: "It would not be fair for students to be graded for this question because they were guided by inappropriate materials."

The question came with two excerpts of historical documents on the exam paper, one about the Qing Dynasty's plan to send Chinese students to study law and politics in Japan and another on how revolutionary leader Huang Xing sought financial aid from a Japanese politician.

The exams authority decided to scrap the question last Friday after a demand from the Education Bureau, which said the question was misleading and "seriously hurt the feelings and dignity of Chinese people."

Affected students will be given a predicted score based on their overall performances in the same paper.

Two staff members of the authority have joined an investigative team on the question set up by the bureau, said its deputy secretary, Hong Chan Tsui-wah, during the Legco meeting.

She said the authority would also conduct an internal investigation and hand in a report to the bureau.

But some opposition lawmakers said cancelling the question would harm the interests of candidates and called on officials to apologize to students.

"Students spent time and effort on this question, which will be wasted. HKEAA's credibility has been damaged," said Democratic Party leader Wu Chi-wai.

Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hong claimed the decision "did not involve political consideration.

"I repeat again - we pondered over the question from the aspect of professionalism, not politics. The bureau has the responsibility to point out any mistake in the design of the DSE exam question," Yeung said.


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