School opening ceremonies at the weekend kicked off the new term for more than 1,300 mainland senior middle school graduates who have just enrolled at Hong Kong universities.
As one of the eight Hong Kong schools that have sought approval from the Ministry of Education to recruit mainland students, Hong Kong Polytechnic University held a welcoming ceremony for 4,500 freshmen on Saturday, 250 of them from the mainland.
The other seven schools include Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Hong Kong, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).
The total mainland enrolment of the eight schools amounts to 1,300, up 30 per cent over last year's 1000.
Figures from the Ministry of Education show that more than 30,000 mainland senior middle school graduates applied for Hong Kong universities this year, with the average application-to-enrolment ratio 23:1.
"International," "English teaching," "student-oriented," and "better jobs" are the most frequently mentioned words when students are asked why they apply for universities in the special administrative region.
Ge Li, a female student from East China's Shandong Province who applied for HKUST, said she would have more chances to visit foreign universities or become an international exchange student at a Hong Kong school. She said she wanted to be a business student, so studying in Hong Kong, an Asian economic centre where a large number of multinational companies are based, would help her future career.
K.C. Chan, dean of HKUST Business School, said Hong Kong universities have an advantage in teaching methods over mainland schools.
"We encourage students to be creative and independent," he said. "We offer them more individualized guidance."
(China Daily September 5, 2006)