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LCQ 8: Private University


Following is a question by the Hon Audrey Eu and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (February 11):

Question :

In his Policy Address 2000, the Chief Executive indicated that the Education Commission had recommended encouraging the establishment of private universities and the Administration would conduct studies with relevant organizations in this respect. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of the concrete progress of such studies?

Reply :

Madam President,

In its report entitled Education Blueprint for the 21st Century which was published in September 2000, the Education Commission recommended, among other things, that the Government promote the development of private higher education institutions, to provide a channel for all sectors of the society to contribute resources and efforts to higher education, for the benefit of more students.

The Administration endorses this recommendation, and have considered different ways to promote the development of private higher education institutions, one of which is to encourage existing private post secondary colleges to upgrade to universities. Under the existing policy, an institution may upgrade to a university after it has been authorized to award degrees, has acquired self-accrediting status, and set up a sound internal governance structure. The Open University of Hong Kong, for instance, was upgraded from the former Open Learning Institute of Hong Kong. In 2001, we introduced amendments to the Post Secondary Colleges Ordinance (Cap. 320) to empower post-secondary colleges registered under the Ordinance to award degrees with the prior approval of the Chief Executive-in-Council. This is a major step towards the upgrading of other existing post-secondary colleges to universities. The Hong Kong Shue Yan College, a post secondary college with a vision to become a local private university, has since been granted approval to offer five degree programmes.

In addition to establishing a legislative framework conducive to the development of private universities, we have also introduced various financial assistance measures to support private higher education institutions and their students. These include the provision of interest free loans and land at nominal premium to education providers for campus development, subsidy for the accreditation of these institutions and their programmes, as well as grants and loans to needy students.

The policy of promoting the development of a robust private higher education sector, underpinned by the various support measures, has encouraged the emergence of more self-financing education institutions in Hong Kong. In 2003/04, these institutions together offered over 110 full-time accredited self-financing programmes, providing some 12 000 student places at sub-degree and above levels.

Ends/Wednesday, February 11, 2004


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