Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is the New Academic Structure implemented in Hong Kong?
       
2. What are the qualities expected of the students under the New Academic Structure?
       
  3. What are the differences between the compulsory part and extended modules of Mathematics? Who takes the extended modules? Will students' performance be reported separately?  
       
4. How is the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) qualification recognised locally?
       
5. How is the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) qualification recognised internationally?
       
    For more information, please contact us via email at nas@edb.gov.hk.  
 
 
 
1. Why is the New Academic Structure implemented in Hong Kong?
To sustain the development of Hong Kong as an international city and to meet the requirements of the increasingly diverse and complex environment, Hong Kong started to implement the New Academic Structure (NAS) in 2009, building on the success of the reform at basic education. As shown in international assessments like The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) and The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), Hong Kong has been among the top regions/countries, reflecting Hong Kong students outperforming other students of the same age-group in reading, mathematical and scientific literacy.

With such great success at basic education, Hong Kong continues to strive for excellence in the curriculum reform at the global, societal and student levels. At the global level, the NAS aims to offer smoother alignment between the local and overseas academic structures and to promote student mobility between Hong Kong and other countries. At the societal level, the NAS continues to enhance its human capital to increase the competitiveness of Hong Kong as an international city. At the student level, the NAS can better prepare students for whole-person development and life-long learning according to their diverse interests, aptitudes and abilities.
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2. What are the qualities expected of the students under the New Academic Structure?
Students under the NAS are expected to possess qualities which reflect their achievement of the following learning goals for whole-person development and life-long learning:

  1. To be biliterate in Chinese and English, and be trilingual with additional mastery of Putonghua.
  2. To acquire a broad knowledge base, and be able to understand contemporary issues that may impact on their daily life at personal, community, national and global levels.
  3. To be an informed and a responsible citizen with a sense of global and national identity.
  4. To respect pluralism of cultures and views, and be a critical, reflective and independent thinker.
  5. To acquire information technology and other skills as necessary for being a life-long learner.
  6. To understand their own career/academic aspirations and develop positive attitudes towards work and learning.
  7. To lead a healthy lifestyle with active participation in aesthetic and physical activities.
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3. What are the differences between the compulsory part and extended modules of Mathematics? Who takes the extended modules? Will students' performance be reported separately?
The compulsory part of Mathematics includes three strands, including (1) Number and Algebra; (2) Measures, Shape and Space; and (3) Data Handling. These three strands aim to provide students with broader mathematical literacy to prepare for their further studies/career. For students who wish to study some basic Mathematics, they may take the compulsory part only.

For those students who would like to learn more Mathematics and study mathematics-related programmes like physical science in university, they could take one of the extended modules in Mathematics - Module 1 (Calculus and Statistics) or Module 2 (Algebra and Calculus). Students are only allowed to study one of the two extended modules in Mathematics as there is substantial overlapping. Respective faculties / programmes in universities generally require one of the extended modules.

Students' performance in the compulsory part and the extended modules are reported separately in the HKDSE Examination results.
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4. How is the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education qualification recognised locally?

The HKDSE qualification has secured wide recognition locally to enable students' articulation to multiple pathways.

Further Studies at Degree-awarding Tertiary Institutions

For admission to local publicly-funded institutions, as far as the four core subjects are concerned, students are required to attain Level 3 for Chinese LanguageNote and English Language and Level 2 for Mathematics and Liberal Studies (commonly known as “3322”) in the HKDSE Examination. In September 2010, the publicly-funded institutions announced the level requirements of the elective subjects as follows:
- Senior secondary subjects - the requirements are generally Level 2 or Level 3.
- ApL subjects - they are accepted as elective subjects, or considered for award of extra bonus or additional information by various institutions / faculties / programmes.
- Other Language subjects - they are accepted as unspecified subjects, generally at the minimum requirement of Grade E, as extra elective subjects or additional information by various institutions / faculties / programmes.

Note for non-Chinese-speaking students::

1. Institutions will continue to accept alternative Chinese qualifications (including the General Certificate of Secondary Education, the International General Certificate of Secondary Education, and the General Certificate of Education) for students who have met the specified conditions: (a) students who have learned Chinese Language for less than 6 years while receiving primary and secondary education; (b) students who have learned Chinese Language for 6 years or more in schools, but have been taught an adapted and simpler Chinese Language curriculum not normally applicable to the majority of students in local schools.

2. Applied Learning Chinese (for non-Chinese Speaking students) courses (ApL(C)), is introduced, starting from the 2014/15 school year by phases, to provide an additional channel exclusively for non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students fulfilling the specified circumstances to obtain an alternative Chinese language qualification to enhance their further studies and employability. University Grants Committee-funded institutions and most post-secondary institutions accept ApL(C) as an alternative qualification in Chinese Language for the admission of non-Chinese speaking students with “Attained” as the minimum grade required

Further Studies at Post-secondary Institutions

Students are eligible to apply for admission to Associate Degree (AD) / Higher Diploma (HD) programmes if they meet the minimum entrance requirements of Level 2 in five HKDSE subjects, including English Language and Chinese Language. A maximum of two ApL subjects will be counted in considering the application.

Employment

Through the broad knowledge-base curriculum, due emphasis is put on the whole-person development of students, and the aforesaid qualities are nurtured to meet the needs of employers.The employer sector welcomes and shows robust support to the implementation of the NAS. The Hong Kong Government, being the largest employer in Hong Kong, has taken the lead in accepting the HKDSE qualification as the entry qualification requirement in recruiting civil service posts. Details are on the website of the Civil Service Bureau.


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5. How is the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) qualification recognised internationally?
The NAS facilitates smoother articulation with overseas education systems and the HKDSE has gained international recognition. At present, over 260 tertiary institutions worldwide have accepted HKDSE as meeting their admission requirements. Moreover, starting from 2012/13, some Mainland higher education institutions and Taiwan universities exempt Hong Kong students from admission examinations and consider their applications based on their HKDSE results. In the past few years, about 15,500 Hong Kong students applied for the higher education institutions in the Mainland via the Scheme for Admission of Hong Kong Students to Mainland Higher Education Institutions, and about 6,400 students were admitted. In 2017/18, the number of participating Mainland institutions will increase to 90.
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