Hong Kong’s secretary for education has dismissed student fears that the DSE fee waivers would make the exam more competitive. Kevin Yeung Yun-hung, speaking at a press conference last Thursday after a briefing on the new education budget, said students don’t need to worry about how many candidates will take the exam, or how they will score.
“The examinations are not scored on a curve [except for 5* and 5** scores], [so] there is no connection between one test-taker’s score and another’s,” he said.
Yeung went on to reassure students and parents that those who go into the exam with a poor attitude or without proper preparation, or those who don’t give their best, would not have a high chance of getting good grades, so test disruption is not a big problem.
These statements came on the heels of complaints from students on social media. They said there was a disruptive test-taker last year who deliberately spoke in different languages during the discussion section, messing up the performance of other candidates. They worry that with the fee waiver, incidents like this will be more common. But the HKDSE has not barred people from registering for the exam.
“Not needing to pay for the DSE would benefit a lot of students, especially those whose families cannot afford such expenses. But I see that a lot of citizens are planning to try out the DSE just for fun, which is annoying and also disrespectful because the 2019 DSE students are fighting for their future,” said Pooi To Middle School student Eunice Yip, 17.
Yeung stressed the DSE fees were waived to ease students’ financial burden, and those who take the DSE for the wrong reasons should reconsider their decision.