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LCQ15: Work-based learning schemes for University students


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 (November 10):


It has been reported that the City University of Hong Kong will launch a "learn and work" scheme to subsidize approximately the first year's annual salaries of some 200 to 300 graduates of the University, with a view to helping them secure their first jobs. Under this scheme, the University will also increase the number of on-campus part-time jobs available to its students, so as to allow the various departments of the University to employ them to take up part-time jobs, in order that they can gain working experience, thereby facilitating them in finding employment after graduation. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it:

(a) knows if the other universities in Hong Kong have implemented the above scheme; if so, of the details; if not, whether they will implement such a scheme;

(b) knows the total estimated number of graduates and students who will benefit from the scheme in the coming year; and

(c) has assessed the benefits to the participating students and universities if the scheme is implemented by all universities in Hong Kong (with the exception of the Open University of Hong Kong); if so, of the results?


Madam President,

(a) In general, all University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded institutions have, in one way or another, included job or service elements in their undergraduate programmes as an opportunity for learning and professional development. This often takes the form of internship or "sandwich" programmes so that students may gain work experience before graduation. The programmes may be with or without pay, and their duration varies, ranging from a few weeks, a summer, a term to a year. To enhance students' learning experience and prepare them for employment, institutions also organize visits to work places, as well as workshops and seminars on career choice, job seeking skills and work place adjustments, etc.

The question refers to a report that City University of Hong Kong (CityU) will launch a "learn and work" scheme. We understand that the University is currently exploring the idea of post-graduation work-based learning and evaluating different models of implementation. Nonetheless, this is only a preliminary idea and CityU has not made any decision yet.

(b) It is estimated that about 14,000 work opportunities under various work-based learning schemes organized by the UGC-funded institutions will be available to their undergraduate students and fresh graduates in the coming year.

(c) All UGC-funded institutions agree that integrating work and learning experience can bring about benefits. Students will be able to put theory to practice and will become more motivated and proficient in the learning of their chosen fields of study. These working opportunities will also increase their exposure and provide students with valuable working and personal experiences. Institutions can also benefit by keeping abreast of new developments in the market place; and by obtaining feedback from employers regarding the performances of their students. These in turn could facilitate curriculum design to suit the needs of society. Therefore, students, institutions and employers can all benefit from the work-based learning schemes organized by the UGC-funded institutions.

Ends/Wednesday, November 10, 2004


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