Tiger students are tops at City UCity talk | Terence Chang 22 Jul 2021
The City University of Hong Kong is introducing a lao hu ban scheme.
"Lao hu" is "tiger," and the name of the scheme has the same pronounciation as the brown marbled tiger grouper, a prized fish, in which "ban" means spots or patches and is written differently to the "ban" in CityU's scheme, which means "class."
So lao hu ban is tiger class, a meaning captured in the program's English title - HK Tech Tiger - which will comprise 300 elite first-year students selected from this year's intake of 2,000.
Julie Li Juan, the school's academic affairs associate provost, explained: "Our tigers have the five traits represented in the acronym 'Tiger' - talented, inquisitive, goal-oriented, enterprising and resourceful."
The purpose of HK Tech Tiger, also known as the Talents Program, is "nurturing the talents of tomorrow and transforming our students into future leaders."
"Creating a high-sounding program is easy," I remarked, "But how exactly is it going to be implemented?
"Are the President's Scholarships and Hong Kong Tech Scholarships, at HK$300,000 and HK$200,000 per annum respectively, enough for the group of 300?" I asked.
Li explained: "Tiger-class students naturally have the chance to get other scholarships. But most importantly, each member of the group will have a one-on-one mentor who will meet them at least once every two weeks to provide highly valuable guidance for their studies and career."
Application to be a HK Tech Tiger requires a minimum DSE score of 28 for JUPAS admission, GCE A Level 2A*+1A, or an IB diploma score of 38.
"Tigers represent the top 10 percent of students across disciplines," Li said, stressing that good grades are required to stay in the program in the second year.
"A promotion or a demotion can happen according to grades and performance. So students who are not in the program can enter in their second year," she added.
"Wouldn't this arrangement create ranks, hence rifts, among students?" I asked.
"No," Li replied. "Students who do better have more enrichment opportunities, like overseas exchange programs, which are also open to non-Tiger-class students. We are encouraging students to treasure their opportunity to learn during their time in university and be given equal opportunity."
The program is for those who "aim high and are willing to go the extra mile," so any student who can do so will have the chance to become a member of the Tiger class.
Terence Chang Cheuk-cheung is the retired headmaster of Diocesan Boys School