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LCQ9: University undergraduate places

    Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Man-kwong and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li , at the Legislative Council today (June 20):


     I have learnt that the Government currently requests universities to trade off their subvented first-year-first-degree ("FYFD") places for subvented senior year undergraduate places ("articulation places") to provide articulation opportunities for associate degree graduates.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a)  of the reasons for the implementation of the policy and its details, including the number of articulation places for which each FYFD place can be traded off; whether the trade-off ratios for individual institutions are the same and whether it has imposed an upper limit on the number of places that can be traded off by each institution;

(b)  of the respective numbers of articulation places for which each subvented institution had traded off its FYFD places each time in each of the past two years; and whether such places are included in the 3 800 subvented Year 2 and Year 3 undergraduate places to be provided additionally between 2005/06 and 2010/11 academic years as undertaken by the Government;

(c)  of the respective current unit costs of the above two types of places; and

(d)  whether it has assessed the impact of the above policy on the existing arrangement for universities to only provide a total of 14 500 FYFD places in each academic year, as well as on the opportunities of the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination candidates in furthering their studies; if it has so assessed, of the results; if not, the reasons for that?


Madam President,

(a) & (b) To provide more articulation opportunities for sub-degree graduates and holders of other relevant qualifications, the Administration has undertaken to create by phases a total of about 3 800 publicly-funded Year 2 and Year 3 undergraduate places ("Senior year places") in the University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded sector from the 2005/06 to 2010/11 academic years.  In this regard, the UGC has provided 840 Year 2 places for the UGC sector in the 2005/06 academic year, and 967 Year 2 places (i.e. an additional 127 places) and 840 Year 3 places in the 2006/07 academic year.

     To create a mutually beneficial situation for the institutions and to take into account the strategic development of the whole UGC sector, the UGC has, starting from the 2006/07 academic year, redistributed a small number of the First-Year First-Degree (FYFD) places from certain UGC-funded institutions which would at the same time receive additional senior year places for articulation by sub-degree graduates.  In allocating the FYFD and senior year places among institutions, the UGC has taken into account various factors including the Academic Development Proposals submitted by the institutions; their specific role and strengths; their experience in providing articulation places for sub-degree graduates; and the Administration's advice on specific manpower requirements, etc.

     The UGC had allocated the additional 127 Year 2 places (as mentioned in paragraph 1 above) to four institutions in the 2006/07 academic year, in exchange for a total of 50 FYFD places from these institutions for redistribution to other institutions.  As the arrangement involves only the redistribution of FYFD places among the UGC-funded institutions, the total number of FYFD places for the UGC sector has been maintained at 14 500.  The UGC has consulted the institutions on the redistribution of student places and the arrangement was agreed by the institutions concerned.

     As the distribution of FYFD and senior year places depends on a number of factors, it would not be appropriate to lock in the arrangement based on a "conversion rate".

(c)  According to the information provided by the UGC-funded institutions, the average student unit cost for each undergraduate place and senior year place is about $200,000 per annum in the 2005/06 academic year.

(d)  As explained in parts (a) and (b) above, the provision of additional senior year places does not have any impact on the total number of publicly-funded FYFD places available for the UGC sector (maintained at 14 500 FYFD places per year).  Hence, the chance that candidates taking the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination will be admitted to the FYFD places at the UGC-funded institutions will not be affected by the redistribution of FYFD places among institutions.

Ends/Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Issued at HKT 15:35


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