Saturday, October 08, 2016

The Education Gap - Hong Kong Style

Today our campus is swamping with potential applicants, mostly students in senior secondary school who will be applying for admission for Fall 2017.  They look young, fresh, eager, and … poor.  

Data from many sources have painted this picture: that the students at the University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University, and the University of Science and Technology are much better off financially than the other universities in Hong Kong.  This impression is reinforced by a recent survey.  One simply notes that the number of students at HKU who are in poverty is half the number of such students at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. 

I also note that many of the students who participate in overseas service-learning projects at HKU have to pay their own way.  Many of their students can truly afford to do so.  On the other hand, many of the students at HKPolyU cannot afford to participate in similar projects, unless the university subsidise their expenses heavily.  

Of course, that does not mean that the students from PolyU and other similarly-positioned universities would necessarily perform worse or suffer serious handicaps in their career.  But it is certainly a significant obstacle to overcome.  And it is a big reason why we work so hard to solicit donations and other funding to ensure that students from limited financial backgrounds can also participate. And we are quite proud of that.  

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