In 2012, secondary school leavers will take the HKDSE instead of the existing HKCEE and HKALE. Currently most students study 9 subjects from form 4 to form 5. In the new system with the HKDSE, it is expected that the majority of students will study 6 subjects from form 4 to form 6: the 4 compulsory subjects of English, Chinese, Mathematics, and General Education, plus 2 elective subjects.
Some of us educators are rather concerned that, under the new system, the students will turn out to be narrower in scope than those under the current systems. Instead of 9 subjects, most students will study only 6.
One of the objectives of the education reform is to not force the students to specialize too early. By restricting the number of subjects that the students take, ostensibly to reduce the pressure on the students, the system actually forces the students to specialize in a much smaller set of subjects, much earlier than in the current system. It is not a desirable situation. Somehow in Hong Kong, we have a habit of saying one thing, while doing the opposite in reality.