Equal Opportunities Commission Announces Findings of the Formal Investigation into the SSPA
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) finds that the Secondary School Places Allocation System (SSPA), used by the Education Department to allocate places for Primary 6 students to Secondary Schools, discriminates on the ground of sex in that:
(i) boys and girls in the same school are treated separately – using gender curves for scaling of their Internal Assessment scores to produce the final scores for placement into secondary schools;
(ii) boys and girls are put into two separate rank orders of academic merit in the banding process, resulting in different band cutting scores for each sex; and
(iii) co-educational schools are required to admit a fixed proportion of boys and girls.
The Commission recommends that:
the Government, the Education Commission and the Director of Education review the SSPA in light of the Commission's findings and their own responsibilities under the law and remove the discriminatory elements to ensure that boys and girls are placed into secondary schools in a manner that does not discriminate against either sex.
"We want our boys and girls to get the best education possible. A boy or a girl should not be deprived of getting into a school of his/her choice because he or she is of a different sex," said Ms. Anna Wu, Chairperson of the Commission.
"The Commission is looking forward to working in partnership with the Government, the Legislature, the education community, and the media to change the present situation. The System has been in operation since 1978 with no major changes. It is time for a review in light of the anti-discrimination ordinances."
In July of 1998, the Education Department made public for the first time the banding of individual students. Comparison of the bandings of different students led to public concerns with respect to the issue of sex discrimination. The Equal Opportunities Commission launched a Formal Investigation into the SSPA System on 21 September 1998.
Enquiry: EOC Hotline 25118211