Unison is advocating for the Government to subsidise the GCE AS- and A-Level Chinese examination, making it an affordable option for ethnic minority students whose Chinese proficiency level is between HKDSE and GCSE Chinese.
Currently, without a Chinese-as-a-Second-Language curriculum, very few ethnic minority students are able to obtain the HKCEE/HKDSE Chinese certification, which is a basic requirement for many tertiary education programmes and local jobs. As an alternative, many ethnic minority students opt to take the GCSE Chinese examination, which is a British examination that is equivalent to Hong Kong local Primary 2-3 level. The GCSE does not adequately prepare students for most job settings in Hong Kong, and is too easy for many ethnic minority students who have already obtained Primary 4-6 Chinese levels during their primary school years.
Before the Government can implement an appropriate Chinese curriculum for ethnic minority students, it should, as an intermediate measure, subsidise the GCE AS-Level and A-Level Chinese examinations for ethnic minority students. GCE AS- and A-Level Chinese exams are equivalent to about local Primary 5-6 and Secondary 1-3 levels respectively, giving students more options to achieve a higher level of Chinese proficiency. However, the examination fees of AS- and A-Level Chinese exams are as high as $2720 and $4080 respectively. In comparison, taking four core subjects and two electives in the HKDSE will only cost $2520.
At present, the Government subsidises the GCSE Chinese exams so that students only have to pay $540 (equivalent to one HKDSE subject fee) to take the exam. Unison hopes that the Government will subsidise the GCE AS- and A-Level as soon as possible to open more affordable options to ethnic minority students.