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LCQ20: Supply and demand situation of student hostel places of UGC-funded institutions

     Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Man-kwong and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (December 17):


     Regarding the supply and demand situation of student hostel places of various institutions funded by the University Grants Committee (UGC), will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number and locations of government quarters and premises in various districts throughout the territory which are vacant;

(b) whether it knows the supply and demand situation of publicly-funded student hostels places of each UGC-funded institution in each of the next five academic years;

(c) whether it had allocated any vacant government quarters or premises to the UGC-funded institutions for the purposes of constructing student hostels in the past five years; if it had, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and;

(d) given the current shortage of publicly-funded student hostel places, coupled with the future additional demand for student hostel places arising from the implementation of the four-year undergraduate curriculum, whether the Government will consider allocating the relevant government quarters or premises mentioned in (a) to the UGC-funded institutions for student hostel purposes; if it will, of the relevant details and criteria; if not, the reasons for that?



(a) A list of currently vacant Government quarters under the Government Property Agency (GPA)'s purview is at Annex A.

(b) In view of the educational value of hostel life, the then Executive Council approved in 1996 a set of criteria for calculating the level of publicly-funded student hostel provisions at the UGC-funded institutions. Such calculation is made on the basis that all undergraduate students will be given an opportunity to stay in student hostels for at least one year of their courses. Furthermore, all non-local students undertaking UGC-funded programmes, all research postgraduate students, as well as all undergraduate students whose daily travelling time exceeds four hours, would be provided with student hostel places.

     The UGC-funded sector should be provided with about 30,500 publicly-funded hostel places by the 2007/08 academic year. There are currently about 24,700 publicly-funded student hostel places available or under construction. Furthermore, the UGC-funded institutions are actively planning for construction of four new hostels projects. These projects will additionally provide about 3,400 publicly-funded hostel places for the UGC-funded sector. The provision of hostel places for individual institutions is at Annex B.

     We estimate that an additional 2,100 hostel places will be needed to cater for the knock on implications of the additional year of undergraduate studies starting from the 2012/13 academic year. Moreover, as a result of the increased quota to 20% for non-local students in publicly-funded programmes, if the non-local admission quota is fully utilised in the future, the UGC-funded sector would require around another 6,500 hostel places.

(c) and (d) In addressing the student hostel shortfall, institutions are encouraged, wherever possible, to identify suitable sites within campus for hostel development, or redevelop existing campus buildings/facilities into hostels so as to maximize the development and utilisation of their campus sites. Furthermore, the Government has been encouraging the UGC-funded institutions to explore all possible options, both interim and long-term, to meet the increasing demand for student hostels. Should UGC-funded institutions wish to develop student hostels outside campus, we will identify suitable sites with regard to certain criteria, such as whether the site is connected by public transportation for easy access by the students to campuses. As for currently vacant Government quarters, there is already planned use for most of them, while others are considered not suitable for student hostel development.

     An alternative to alleviating hostel shortfall is the construction of "joint hostels". We have explored with the UGC-funded institutions the feasibility of joint hostels, and have identified two potential sites. Together with the UGC, we are liaising with the institutions on the details of the proposals. We will consult the relevant district bodies and seek funding approval of the Finance Committee in due course.

Ends/Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Issued at HKT 12:31


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