The Legislative Council has voted down a motion to abolish a controversial exam system which has been criticised for putting too much pressure on primary and secondary school students.

People Power lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip tabled the non-binding motion on Thursday to scrap the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) exams after parents and teachers spoke out publicly against them.

Education minister Eddie Ng. Photo: Stand News.

The exams, taken by Primary Three, Primary Six and Secondary Three students in Hong Kong local schools, are aimed at gauging students’ “strengths and weaknesses” in learning, authorities said.

Although results of the tests do not affect students’ applications for secondary schools or universities, many feel the pressure to perform well. Grades-oriented school authorities also give extra work to students to help them score better in TSA exams.

Albert Chan. File photo: HKFP.

Last month, a parents and teachers concern group issued an open letter to Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim urging him to abolish the TSA exams. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people have signed up via Facebook for a rally to be held in December.

Ng was criticised by both pan-democrat and pro-government lawmakers at LegCo for his poor handling of the controversy on Thursday.

However, the motion to abolish TSAs was not passed as pro-government legislators voted “no” or abstained.

Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.