Oxbridge admissions from HK lag

Local | Phoenix Un 14 Dec 2016

Fewer Hong Kong applicants to the top UK universities - Oxford and Cambridge - were admitted than their Singaporean counterparts during the years from 2011 to 2015, a study by an education foundation shows.

The International Chinese Academy Education Foundation collected statistics about admission rates of students from different countries and regions into Oxbridge in the five-year period.

Students were classified based on where they lived instead of their nationalities, so as to show the effect of school systems in different places.

The research found that 12.7 percent of Hong Kong-based applicants were admitted to Oxford and 16.1 percent to Cambridge, compared with 15.6 percent and 17.4 percent of applicants from Singapore, and the global average of 18.26 percent and 21.12 percent, respectively.

Hong Kong's rate was even lower than China's 12.96 percent in Oxford admissions.

Head of Admission Coaching of Norton House Aaron Lau Kam-yin compared Hong Kong applicants under the three exam systems - International A-Level, International Baccalaureate and Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education - and found that those from DSE had a significantly lower admission rate than the other two. Average acceptance rate of students under A-Level and IB systems were 13 percent and 12 percent respectively, while DSE only had 7 percent.

Fewer than six students with DSE qualifications were admitted by Oxford each year from 2012 to 2015, Lau said, adding the situation would be similar with Cambridge.

"A-Level and IB are more internationally popular and Oxbridge had more knowledge about them, while DSE mainly caters for local schools for admission to local universities, with less resources for students aiming to study abroad."

But Lau said it would be unfair to blame it on the change from A-Level to DSE for there are only four years of figures.

He also said lacking a career plan may affect applicants' performance in admission interviews.

Lau suggested government resources should be allocated for schools to employ full-time teachers specializing in education and career planning.

ICAEF board member Vickie Liu Yeuk-yee said all applicants of Oxbridge had good academic results, thus interview performance would be the crucial part for admission.

She said the interview would test students' academic potential, passion about the subject and lateral thinking capability.

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