SCMP Tuesday, August 8, 2000

Form five exam results improve

ERIC MOK


More than 140,000 Form Five students are waiting anxiously for Wednesday's Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) results, amid hopes that improved overall results would mean success for them.

Figures from the Hong Kong Examinations Authority (HKEA) indicated that the overall performance of the candidates was better than that in last year.

Over 50,000, or 38 per cent of the candidates, earned the minimum entry requirements for sixth form courses as compared with 36.3 per cent last year.

Of the 50,000 students, about half of them (over 23,260 students) have earned 14 points or above and thus are eligible for a sixth form place in the first admission stage on Wednesday morning.

Pass rates for the three core subjects of Chinese, English and Mathematics, have also increased.

''This is very encouraging,'' said Choi Chee-cheong, Secretary of the HKEA.

Another subject worthy of note was Putonghua, which was introduced this year. Only around 1,800 students took the exam, but Mr Choi was confident that the subject would gain popularity as ''it is very useful''.

''The release of results will make some happy and some sad,'' Mr Choi said.

Last year over 23,000 students failed, causing widespread concern.

This year the figure was down to 21,861, but Mr Choi pointed out that this figure had included many repeaters who had just sat for one or two subjects. The actual number of first-time failiures was 7,544, down from 8,291 last year.

Mr Choi urged those students who did poorly in the HKCEE to consider the prospect of repeating Form Five calmly and realistically.

''Speaking as a parent, if my child has done his very best and still he cannot get a satisfactory result, I will advise him to consider other ways.

''Nowadays the society has provided much more options for Form Five graduates.''

He suggested students could consider joining ''Project Springboard'', a new programme which provides continuing education for Form Five graduates and mature learners.

Mr Choi also reminded students to read the Candidate's Handbook carefully. This year 2,840 candidates received mark penalties while 560 received warning letters. Among them, 330 cases were concerned with the ringing of mobile phones and pagers.

Nine candidates were found cheating, four of them had been disqualified for all the subjects and the rest had the result of the subject concerned cancelled.

But on a brighter note, he said that four elderly people, all in their sixties, had sat for the HKCEE, the eldest one being sixty-four. ''They fully deserve our respect,'' said Mr Choi. He said that they embodied the concept of ''life-long learning''.