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The Hong Kong Education and Schooling System

April 13th, 2013 2:17 am

In the past, the education system in Hong Kong was influenced by British rule and contains many elements that can also be seen in the United Kingdom. However, since 1997, the education system taught in local schools has undergone a series of changes. While some of these changes have reflected different language of instruction policies, there have also been changes to the senior secondary curriculum. The new model is now more in line with those found in China and even the USA.

While there are nine years of compulsory schooling in Hong Kong, six in primary school and three in junior secondary school, the Hong Kong government has recently moved to make it easier and more likely that the majority of students will receive 12 years of education. .
Primary Education is compulsory for children to obtain primary education, which consists of six years at a primary school. Placement does not take place before Primary 5 and Primary 6, as compared to Germany, where the decision about going to university where placement procedures start as early as in third and fourth year of primary school. The number of primary school students is shrinking due to demographic change.

The first year of secondary school, after primary school, known as Form or Secondary One, follows six years of primary education. Forms 1 – 3 have compulsory attendance and in junior secondary, the learning is broader, without students choosing specific study areas At the end of six years of secondary education students take a placement exam that leads to the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE), which has a similar function as the A-levels exam, the Abitur, the International Baccalaureat obtained in other systems..

Tertiary education is important in Hong Kong. There are eight universities and several other tertiary institutions without university status. All the tertiary institutions offer a range of programmes including undergraduate and post-graduate degrees, as well as Associate degrees and Higher Diplomas. In terms of post-graduate study, the trend for local Hong Kong people is to complete a post-graduate qualification abroad. In terms of post-graduate students at local universities, a significant number of them come from Mainland China.

Adult Education or Life-long learning has become a popular catch cry from the government and certainly taking a course seems to be a common activity among the adult population. The majority of the universities have schools which offer non-degree, adult learning courses and there are a range of other institutions as well, offering professional, general education and interest courses. Language courses, especially English, Mandarin and Japanese are common, and many adults study as a means of improving their prospects in the employment market. The government has even established a scheme which enables adult learners to apply for course fee reimbursement for approved courses. There is also the Open University of Hong Kong, run along similar lines to the UK one, which gives many people opportunities to study for a degree.

Local Delicacies Guide – Discover Hong Kong

August 7th, 2012 10:20 pm

Below is a sampler of some common Hong Kong delicacies.

Dim sum
Dim sum (or ‘little bits of heart’) are a cherished feature of Hong Kong cuisine and rightly so. Siu mai (steamed mince and prawn dumplings decorated with bright orange crab eggs), har gau (steamed prawn dumplings), cheung fen (soft white rice flour rolls sloshed with soy), luo buo gau (fried squares of turnip, pork and mushroom mash), char siu bao (sweet pork stuffed in the center of a white steamed bun) are standards of the lunch-time institution of yum cha (‘drink tea’) and are served at Cantonese restaurants all over Hong Kong. Eaten briskly with colleagues on weekday lunch-times or lingered over with family at the weekend, several hundred types of dim sum fry and steam their way onto tables from eleven o’clock in the morning till past three in the afternoon. The noise generated by customers in a big restaurant can be deafening.

Tucking into dim sum at the Metropole

In some places, the serving ladies still push trolleys around from which you make your selection, whilst in other restaurants the waitress brings food to your table. Trolley ladies can be found at Maxim’s Palace (2/F, Low Block, City Hall) and The Metropole (4/F United Centre, Admiralty – watch your bag as thieves are known to operate there). You select a dish from the trolley and the serving lady stamps your order card. When there are no trolleys, you first mark up your order sheet (which also shows the price of each item – low, medium, high, special price) and then give the order sheet to the waitress who brings the dishes, often in bamboo steamers, to your table. The only problem with this is that most Chinese restaurants do not have English translations of dim sum menus. A nice pictorial guide to many of the most famous dim sum is Dim Sum: A Pocket Guide by Kit Shan Li (Chronicle Books).

Sauces and dips served with dim sum include soy sauce, vinegar (garnished with thin strips of ginger), chilli oil, XO sauce (oil flavoured with chilli and seafood), chilli sauce, sweet sauce and mustard sauce (especially good with roast pork). Tea is usually drunk as an accompaniment – sao mei, bo lei and tik guan yum being among the most popular with local Hong Kongers. Lift the tea-pot lid to the side when you want a hot water refill.

Beside the dim sum (which usually come in 3 or 4 strips or items per helping), it’s common to order other side dishes such as a roast meat plate (pork, goose, duck and eel are common) and one of the many fried rice, congee, or fried noodle dishes (fried rice with dried scallop and egg white is tasty). Chinese also commonly order a plate of blanched choi sum green stalky vegetables, served with oyster sauce.

There is usually a small selection of desserts served after dim sum. Mango pudding in a lagoon of evaporated milk, sweet red bean soup flavoured with sun-dried tangerine peel, mini-egg tarts with the centers almost-runny and sesame or peanut balls in sweet soup (tong yun) are amongst the most popular.