Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article Government Homepage
LCQ 13: Hong Kong students studying at Mainland universities

    Following is a question by the Hon Abraham Shek and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today(May 3):


It had been reported that the Vice Minister of the State Ministry of Education indicated in Beijing that Hong Kong students enrolled in Mainland universities will pay the same tuition as their Mainland counterparts starting from this autumn.  He believed that, with the reduction in the tuition, more Hong Kong students would choose to pursue their studies in the Mainland.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:

(a) it has conducted any survey on the number of Hong Kong students studying at Mainland universities, the subjects studied, the cities where the universities are located and the post-graduation profile of these students (including returning to Hong Kong or seeking employment in the Mainland, etc) in each of the past five years; if it has, of the survey results; if not, the reasons for that;

(b) the academic qualifications of Hong Kong graduates from Mainland universities, who return to seek employment in Hong Kong, are recognised by local employers, and whether the academic qualifications of graduates from Mainland universities are recognized as those of the local university graduates when they apply for civil service posts or sit for qualifying examinations of professional qualifications in Hong Kong; if not, the relevant details; and

(c) it has assessed the impact of the tuition reduction arrangements on Hong Kong students' decision to study at Mainland universities; if so, of the assessment results; whether loans will be provided for Hong Kong students who study in the Mainland; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?

Madam President,

(a)  The University Grants Committee had commissioned the Census and Statistics Department to conduct a Thematic Household Survey on the "Pattern of Study in Higher Education" from June to August 2004.  The survey revealed that amongst the 2.2 million of domestic households in Hong Kong at the time of enumeration, some 72,000 persons aged 15 and over were pursuing higher education outside Hong Kong.  Among them, around 8% (or 5,500 persons) were studying in the Mainland.  In addition, about 1,400 persons aged 15 and over had completed higher education in the Mainland in the three years before the survey was conducted.

     The above-mentioned survey further revealed that most Hong Kong students pursuing higher education in the Mainland studied "arts and humanities" and "social sciences" subjects.

     The survey however did not cover the post-graduation profile and employment situation of the Hong Kong students graduated from the Mainland institutions.  The Administration does not have such information either.

(b)  As Hong Kong is a free market, employers are free to determine whether the academic qualifications awarded by Mainland institutions should be recognised in staff recruitment.

     In devising the entry qualifications for the civil service, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government primarily made reference to the qualifications awarded by the local institutions.  Degree qualifications awarded by non-local institutions, including those by Mainland institutions, are subject to individual assessment to determine whether they are comparable in standard to the local qualification requirement set for a civil service post.  The Civil Service Bureau will seek advice from the Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation on the standard of individual academic qualifications where necessary.

(c)  We believe that Hong Kong students will take into account a number of factors when they consider furthering their studies abroad, and the level of tuition fees will be one of their considerations.  It is therefore difficult for us to assess at this stage whether a reduction in the level of university tuition fees will attract more Hong Kong students to pursue their studies in the Mainland.

     In general, local students pursuing post-secondary accredited programmes offered by local institutions with up to 50% of the modules offered outside Hong Kong may apply for all financial assistance schemes administered by the Student Financial Assistance Agency, subject to the fulfillment of the relevant eligibility criteria of the individual schemes.  To ensure the most effective use of our resources, these schemes are not applicable to students pursuing education offered by non-local institutions outside Hong Kong.

Ends/Wednesday, May 3, 2006
Issued at HKT 15:03