Students at “qualified schools” will be able to sit Hong Kong’s university entry examinations in mainland China from 2024, the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) announced on Wednesday.

Students sitting apart as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus during the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) Exam. File photo: May James/HKFP.

In a circular issued to schools, the HKEAA said that students studying at certain mainland Chinese schools would be able to sit exams for most subjects as part of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) without having to travel to Hong Kong.

However, students will be required to take their English speaking test and the practical exams for physical education or music with other local candidates in Hong Kong.

In addition, applied learning and other language subjects will only be provided in Hong Kong.

Margaret Hui, the head of school examinations and assessment at the HKEAA, confirmed in Wednesday’s notice that the authority had received applications from mainland schools to participate in the 2024 university entry exams for the first time.

In order to be approved by the HKEAA, schools must be qualified to teach Hong Kong children living in mainland China, and have been approved to offer the DSE curriculum.

The logistics arrangements and invigilation requirements for the examinations “would follow those of Hong Kong as far as practicable,” the circular said.

Currently, mainland Chinese students who want to sit HKDSE examinations have to apply as “private candidates” and attend all exams in Hong Kong.

A Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education examination centre. File photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

According to the HKEAA, there were a total of 7,032 private candidates who entered the recent 2022 HKDSE examination, whereas the number of local school candidates was at 43,032.

The official data also reflected a continuing decline in HKDSE candidates – which peaked at 82,283 in 2013 before dropping to 50,064 this year.

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Peter Lee

Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.