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LCQ 17: Students discontinued sub-degree and degree programmes


Following is a question by Ir Dr Hon Ho Chung-tai and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (June 9):


Will the Government inform this Council of:

(a) the number of students who dropped out from sub-degree and degree programmes over the past year and their reasons for doing so, as well as the academic departments involved and the years of study at which they dropped out from the programmes;

(b) the total wastage of resources caused by the dropout of students;

(c) the measures in place to remedy the dropout situation?


Madam President,

(a) In the academic year 2002/03, there were respectively 835 and 635 students (in full-time-equivalent terms) who discontinued their studies in sub-degree and undergraduate programmes funded by the University Grants Committee (UGC). The student enrolment number in full-time equivalent terms for sub-degree programmes was 11,046, while that for undergraduate programmes was 47,201. Students discontinued their studies mainly for personal reasons (such as health problems, loss of interest in the programmes, etc.) or because they failed to achieve the academic standards set by the institutions. Some sub-degree students dropped out because they were admitted into undergraduate programmes.

Most of the above students were enrolled in Business/Management programmes and were Year One students.

(b) Recurrent funding is provided to the UGC-funded institutions through the UGC mainly in the form of block grants. As the institutions may freely deploy their resources, it is difficult to quantify the financial implications arising from individual students discontinuing their studies.

Although some students discontinued their studies, the overall student enrolment for subdegree and undergraduate programmes in the academic year 2002/03 remained roughly the same as the total number of student places funded by the UGC. Moreover, it is a common practice of the UGC-funded institutions to enroll a slightly larger number of students than the approved student number targets, in anticipation of normal attrition. As such, some students discontinuing their studies should not result in wastage of public resources.

(c) Information available does not suggest that students discontinuing their studies is a serious problem in UGC-funded institutions. UGC-funded institutions have also been enrolling a slightly larger number of students than the approved student number targets at no additional costs in anticipation of normal attrition.

Ends/Wednesday, June 9, 2004


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