Hundreds of Hong Kong pupils living in Guangdong province will be allowed to take tests locally to determine which of the city’s secondary schools they will attend, as most were unable to return during the coronavirus pandemic.
The New Territories School Heads Association said on Thursday at least 200 cross-border students from 13 primary schools had already expressed an interest in the pilot programme, which could begin as early as mid-September.
The Education Bureau had approved the scheme, saying schools could carry out the tests depending on their individual needs.
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Younger pupils in Hong Kong must take three tests to determine secondary school place allocation in the final two years of primary school. But about a third of schools were prevented from carrying out the assessments for some or all students after the pandemic forced the suspension of physical classes beginning in late February, except for a few weeks before the summer break in July.
Most cross-border students have not returned to the city due to a two-week mandatory quarantine requirement.
While the bureau this week also decided to allow schools to combine the first two tests and only submit one set of results, some institutions are still scrambling to hold the first round.
Among the schools planning to join the pilot scheme are those in Tai Po and North districts, where three were unable to hold the assessments, and another 10 were only able to test local students, the Post has learned.
Association vice-chairman Chu Wai-lam said it was reaching out to education institutions in Shenzhen to rent venues for the tests. Schools that only needed to conduct the tests for cross-border students planned to carry out the assessment in Shenzhen in mid or late September, he said.
“At the exam venues in Shenzhen, teachers assigned from the mainland will act as invigilators at a ratio of 1 teacher to 20 pupils,” Chu said. “Hong Kong teachers will also be monitoring the test at the same time through online live-streaming systems.”
Parents of cross-border students might have to pay the test fees partially or in full, he added, but schools were still looking into whether subsidies could be offered.
At Tsuen Wan Trade Association Primary School in Kwai Tsing district, nearly 50 pupils – about half of them cross-border students – have not yet taken the tests.
Principal Chow Kim-ho said the school had not decided how they would handle the issue as it would only talk to parents and school management in September at the earliest.
“We will continue to assess the latest situation, and if face-to-face lessons can resume by October, then we may hold the tests on campus as usual,” Chow said.
This article Hong Kong third wave: schools to hold placement test for their cross-border students in Shenzhen first appeared on South China Morning Post