LCQ12: Non-means-tested Subsidy Scheme for Self-financing Undergraduate Studies in Hong Kong
Starting from this academic year, the Government implements a Non-means-tested Subsidy Scheme for Self-financing Undergraduate Studies in Hong Kong (Subsidy Scheme). Specified full-time locally-accredited local and non-local self-financing undergraduate and top-up degree programmes offered by 15 self-financing post-secondary institutions are eligible programmes under the Scheme. To be eligible for the non-means-tested annual subsidy of $30,000, students studying in self-financing undergraduate programmes must have attained level 3 or above for Chinese Language and English Language as well as level 2 or above for Mathematics Compulsory Part and Liberal Studies ("3322" results) in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (HKDSE), while those studying in self-financing top-up degree programmes must have sub-degree qualifications. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) among the students who are studying in the eligible programmes in this academic year, of the number and percentage of those who are ineligible for applying for the subsidy, together with a tabulated breakdown by the institution in which they are studying and their year of study;
(2) among the ineligible students mentioned in (1), of the respective numbers and percentages of those who are studying in self-financing undergraduate programmes but are ineligible for applying for the subsidy due to (i) the fact that they have not attained "3322" results and (ii) other reasons, as well as the respective numbers and percentages of those who are studying in self-financing top-up degree programmes but are ineligible for applying for the subsidy due to (iii) the fact that they do not have sub-degree qualifications and (iv) other reasons; among the students who fall within case (i), of the respective numbers and percentages of those who were admitted to the programmes based on (v) their results in the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination and (vi) their sub-degree qualifications; and a tabulated breakdown by the institution in which such students are studying and their year of study;
(3) in respect of those students who had not attained "3322" results when they were admitted to the eligible programmes but, after re-sitting the HKDSE in the relevant subjects during their study in the programmes, have attained "3322" results when their HKDSE results of different years are considered together, whether such students are eligible for the subsidy in their remaining academic years;
(4) given that the self-financing undergraduate programmes offered by the institutions funded by the University Grants Committee (UGC) are not eligible programmes, and since students who had been admitted to such programmes in last academic year or earlier did not anticipate at the time of enrolment that the Government would implement a subsidy scheme that excludes such programmes, whether the Government has examined if the exclusion of such students from the Subsidy Scheme has contravened the principle of fairness; if it has examined and the outcome is in the negative, of the justifications for that; and
(5) as the Secretary for Education had stated earlier that before the outcome of a forthcoming review on the role and positioning of self-financing post-secondary institutions was available, it was inappropriate to include the self-financing departments of the UGC-funded institutions in the Subsidy Scheme although the Government would not rule out the possibility of doing so in future, of the expected completion time of the review?
The Chief Executive announced various priority initiatives to support quality education on July 5 this year. One of the initiatives was to provide a non-means-tested annual subsidy of $30,000 for eligible students pursuing full-time locally-accredited local and non-local self-financing undergraduate (including top-up degree) programmes in Hong Kong (save for those enrolled in places already supported under the Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors) offered by eligible institutions (Subsidy Scheme). The subsidy is only applicable to Hong Kong students who fulfil the following criteria:
(a) attaining "3322" in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (HKDSE) when they are enrolled in eligible self-financing undergraduate programmes; or
(b) with sub-degree qualifications (i.e. after completing relevant sub-degree programmes) when they are enrolled in eligible self-financing top-up degree programmes.
The relevant funding proposal was approved by the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council (LegCo) on July 19. Upon confirmation with relevant institutions on the implementation details of the Subsidy Scheme, the Education Bureau (EDB) announced in early August a list of institutions and programmes covered by the Subsidy Scheme in the 2017/18 academic year for eligible students to apply for subsidy with the institutions.
My reply to the question raised by Hon Ip Kin-yuen is as follows:
(1) and (2) The EDB does not keep information regarding the academic qualifications or public examination results used for admission purpose by all students enrolling in self-financing undergraduate programmes. With the introduction of the Subsidy Scheme, the EDB now requires relevant institutions to provide the academic qualifications and related information of students, who have filed application and met the application criteria, to the EDB for verification. The EDB does not plan to require the institutions to provide the number of and reasons for students who do not apply for the Subsidy Scheme or fulfil the application criteria, hence the EDB does not have the statistics required in the first two parts of the question.
(3) As long as the policy intent of the Subsidy Scheme is not contravened, the EDB and participating institutions will process individual applications flexibly. If students attain "3322" in the HKDSE during their studies in eligible undergraduate programmes, they may claim the subsidy if the relevant institutions accept such qualifications.
(4) As the EDB explained during the LegCo's discussion of the Subsidy Scheme in July this year, students who are enrolled in self-financing undergraduate programmes of the University Grants Committee-funded universities are not the target group of the Subsidy Scheme. The Subsidy Scheme has its specific coverage according to the policy intent and we will implement the Scheme based on its prescribed coverage and criteria. We will conduct a review of the Scheme in due course taking into account experience from actual implementation.
(5) As the Chief Executive announced in her Policy Address on October 11, a task force to be chaired by Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung will be established to revisit the role and positioning of self-financing post-secondary education institutions, including a review of the role of the self-financing operation of subvented institutions vis-à-vis self-financing post-secondary institutions, and the future development of sub-degree programmes. The task force will commence its work soon and confirm issues for discussion and an indicative timetable, and it will consult stakeholders on the relevant issues in due course.
Ends/Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Issued at HKT 11:55
Issued at HKT 11:55