Talking points: Does the DSE favour girls?

Talking points: Does the DSE favour girls?

Last year, 6,595 girls and 5,900 boys were admitted to universities.

Tinaz Mirza, 16, South Island School

No, I do not think the DSE favours girls. In fact, it has been proven that girls get better grades in coursework-based subjects where the workload is more spread out, and boys perform better in exams where their knowledge is tested in one strong blow. The DSE consists of both coursework and exams, so boys and girls have equal opportunities to do well.


Conan Tsang, 20, Chinese University of Hong Kong

It is clear that the DSE favours girls over boys. Put aside the statistics and let us analyse the exam framework. There are four core subjects - Chinese, English, mathematics and liberal studies. Research has shown that girls excel at languages. Three out of the four compulsory subjects require students to be good at languages, which is why I believe the system favours girls.


Charlotte Chan, 16, Carmel Secondary School

Yes, of course, girls have an advantage. Three out of the four core subjects are language- or humanity-related subjects. Girls are generally stronger in these subjects than boys. This makes it easier for girls to outperform boys in the HKDSE.


Leuven Wang, 13, KGV

I don't think the DSE has any gender bias. First of all, how does the examination authority benefit from such an unfair system? Unless there is some new scientific study that finds girls have more success in life than boys, I see no reason for the authority to favour girls. What's more, we must consider the number of boys and girls who took the exam. If there were more girls than boys, these results are not surprising. I believe there must be a rational, and less radical, explanation to this issue; I want to emphasise the DSE is not biased against boys.


Kelvin Chu, 16, Po Leung Kuk Laws Foundation College

As for the DSE, girls get special treatment. In the NSS curriculum, there are four mandatory subjects - Chinese, English, mathematics, and liberal studies. Three of these require good language skills. As research has shown, girls have more potential in languages than boys. So unsurprisingly girls obtain better grades overall than boys in the DSE.

For university admission, candidates require Level 3 in Chinese and English and Level 2 in liberal studies and mathematics. This shows that even girls with poor maths skills have a higher chance of gaining a university place thanks to their proficiency in languages.


Tell us whether you think the DSE favour girls or not in the comment box below.

In our next Talking Points, we'll discuss:

How do you feel about ATV not getting their free-to-air licence extended?


We are now accepting answers from readers for this new topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age and school, plus a high-res photo of yourself (no less than 1MB), to yp@scmp.com by Monday lunchtime next week.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Last year, 6,595 girls and 5,900 boys were admitted to universities. Does the DSE favour girls?

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16 Comments

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