State of the Faculty Address 2021

14 Ultimately though, one still needs to address the root reason – university admissions. That was why since 2013, HKUMed is the first and only school, to have explicitly set a reserved quota of at least three-quarters of available places for graduates of the local high school diploma system. It was not because of local favouritism but a recognition that the DSE2 is the only system that is truly open to all and that empirically other routes of entry are dominated by applicants from more advantaged families. We have upheld this self-imposed, equity-driven 75% JUPAS3 floor quota in our MBBS4 admissions ever since. However, given the JUPAS mechanism, one cannot predict how many of these offers are eventually “matched” by the system, after incorporating candidate choice. Indeed from 2018, a number of candidates who were offered a place did not choose our programme because we would not compromise on assessment standards nor coddle. As such, the remaining places were subsequently offered to degree holders, IB5 and GCE A-level6 candidates, in order to fulfil the government mandated manpower-planned quota. Fundamentally, demographics have been a major headwind. Hong Kong’s overall eligible JUPAS candidate pool has shrunk by some 40% in the past decade. In parallel, the total number of manpower-planned medical undergraduate places has increased by more than one-quarter. Therefore, medical programmes have become considerably less selective; to be precise, it is more than twice as easy to gain a place into medical school in 2021 compared to the beginning of the “3+3+4” era in 2012/13. During the past decade between the two local medical schools, fewer than two-thirds of first-year intakes have been from the JUPAS pool. In other words, whether the split is 50% vs 70% HKU vs CUHK like in the past few years, or 70% vs 50% like in earlier periods, there are only so many JUPAS candidates who are deemed qualified for medical studies by both schools overall. The introduction of the Medical Registration ( Amendment ) Bill 2021, which opens the door for those who graduate from 100 pre-approved non-local medical schools to practise medicine in Hong Kong without the need to sit local licensing examinations, is likely to pose further uncertainty to admissions uptake at the two local medical schools in future. The competition for the same pool of candidates will shift from essentially between two schools to 102 schools. Furthermore, the government manpower-planned quota will increase from the current 530 to 590 for the 2022-5 intakes, thus making the medical programmes even less selective than currently. These two fundamental policy changes will almost certainly impact medical student admissions from next year onwards, likely further reducing the proportion admitted through the JUPAS route. 2 Diploma of Secondary Education 3 Joint University Programmes Admissions System 4 Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery 5 International Baccalaureate 6 General Certificate of Education Advanced Level