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LCQ13: General Certificate of Secondary Education (Chinese) Examination

     Following is a question by the Hon Andrew Cheng and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (June 17):


     Starting from 2008, non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students may apply for admission to local universities using the results of the General Certificate of Secondary Education (Chinese) Examination (GCSE (Chinese)). The examination fee for GCSE (Chinese) is $965, while that for the Chinese Language subject in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) is $194, with a nearly fourfold difference between them. To avoid being unfair to NCS students and reduce their financial pressure, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it will consider subsidising NCS students who apply to sit for  GCSE (Chinese) to pay for the difference between the above examination fee; and

(b) given that the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (French) is currently included as one of the examination subjects in HKCEE, and thus its examination fee is the same as those for other language subjects in HKCEE, whether the authorities will deal with GCSE (Chinese) in the same way?



(a) Starting from 2007, we have, through the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA), administered in Hong Kong the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) (Chinese) Examination offered by the UK-based Edexcel International Examination Board as we understand that some non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students, in particular those who have a late start in learning Chinese or have not been given ample opportunity to study the local Chinese curriculum, may prefer to attain alternative Chinese Language qualifications.

     GCSE (Chinese) is an overseas examination. Hence, the HKEAA has to administer the GCSE (Chinese) Examination on a full-cost recovery basis and, when determining the relevant examination fee, has to take into consideration the charges of relevant overseas examination board and other related operating expenses. The HKEAA has in fact exercised its discretion in determining the examination fee for GCSE (Chinese), and it has also committed to review annually the examination fees of these non-local examinations. There is room for downward adjustment of the fees if more students sit for the GCSE (Chinese) Examination in future.

     We understand the concerns of the NCS students on the GCSE (Chinese) examination fee and we are actively exploring feasible means to support the NCS students with a view to alleviating their financial burden in taking the GCSE (Chinese) Examination. We hope to be able to finalise the relevant details in the coming months for implementation in November before the NCS students commence to register for the GCSE (Chinese) Examination next year.

(b) French is one of the examination subjects under the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE). The HKCEE has been providing the French Examination since the 1960s with the examination papers developed initially by the HKEAA. Though it subsequently adopts the IGCSE paper of the University of Cambridge International Examinations Board instead of developing the paper itself, French, like Chinese Language, Putonghua and English language, remains one of the language subjects examined under the HKCEE and is, therefore, charging the same examination fee. As the GCSE (Chinese) Examination is not the Chinese Language examination subject of the HKCEE, it is different from the situation of the French Examination under the HKCEE and cannot be handled in the same way. As mentioned before, we are actively exploring other means to support NCS students in taking the GCSE (Chinese) Examination.

Ends/Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Issued at HKT 17:48


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