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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Penny's Bay ready for DSE exam takers

Six candidates will take the English reading and writing exams for the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education at Penny's Bay isolation center as the three-week university entrance exams kick off today for about 50,000 candidates.
They include four Covid-infected students and two in quarantine.

The Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority said around 60 invigilators equipped with protective gear have been trained to oversee exams in the facility.

The six students will take their exams in individual rooms with live video surveillance systems. They can ask the invigilators for help through the system, such as for supplementary answer sheets or to inform them that they have to go to the toilet.

All students must take rapid antigen tests before exams every morning. Director of public examinations Ricardo Mak King-sang reminded candidates to take a photo of their rapid test result, which should be negative to sit the exam.

Candidates should not skip the rapid test and go to exam venues directly as the exam centers will not be providing rapid test kits to students, Mak said.

If students test positive or become a close contact of a Covid patient, they must call the HKEAA at 3628-8860 before 6.30am to inform them if they will take the exam. If they decide to take the exam, they have to call 3693-4770 to book a designated Covid taxi to escort them to Penny's Bay.

Mak said it's better for candidates to take the rapid test earlier in the morning so that if they test positive, they can start packing their things for the exam as well as book a taxi for Penny's Bay.

Those living in buildings with confirmed cases can attend the exams by going to their assigned exam centers. St Joseph's College in Mid-Levels will have special seats to segregate candidates who test negative in the rapid test but are still waiting for their PCR test result to minimize the risk of cross-infection.

Candidates who show mild Covid symptoms will also be arranged to sit in those seats.

Ken Hui Keung-mau, head of a youth counselling hotline by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, reminded secondary six students to pack "quarantine bags" just in case they have to go to Penny's Bay.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor yesterday inspected an exam center at Clementi Secondary School in North Point, accompanied by Under Secretary for Education Christine Choi Yuk-lin and HKEAA chairman Samuel Yung Wing-ki.

"Despite the fluctuating Covid epidemic situation and the myriad challenges brought about over the past two years or so, the government has been closely liaising and cooperating with the HKEAA and academic sector to make timely decisions to ensure the smooth conduct of the examination," Lam said.

She said the steady decline in cases has created the necessary conditions for the public exams to start today.

The Education Bureau has also allocated resources worth about HK$20 million to provide sufficient rapid test kits to DSE candidates through the HKEAA.

Meanwhile, heads of local universities sent their best wishes to DSE candidates in video messages.

They included Chinese University of Hong Kong president Rocky Tuan Sung-chi, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology president Shyy Wei, Lingnan University president Leonard Cheng Kwok-hon and Education University of Hong Kong president Stephen Cheung Yan-leung.
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