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LCQ13: Pilot scheme for Recognition of Prior Learning

     Following is a question by the Hon Wong Ting-kwong and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (October 28):


     The Government has officially launched the Qualifications Framework with effect from May 5 last year, and a pilot scheme for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) has also been implemented since June of the same year for three industries for the purpose of assessing the qualifications of employees with work experience.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the total number of employees who have participated in the RPL pilot scheme since the implementation of the mechanism concerned; under which level of qualifications of the RPL mechanism their assessments were mostly made; of the respective percentages of the numbers of such employees in the total number of employees in the relevant industries; as well as which industry has the largest number of applicants;

(b) of the work that has been undertaken so far to promote the RPL mechanism, so as to encourage employees to participate in the aforesaid pilot scheme; whether the authorities will step up publicity work in this regard in the next few years; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(c) given that it has been reported earlier that the number of participants in the aforesaid pilot scheme was on the low side, whether the authorities will conduct a review again to collect views of different industries for reference and adopt measures to refine the mechanism concerned; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



(a) As at the end of September 2009, the Assessment Agency of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) received a total of 957 applications, most of which, about 70%, applied for the recognition of Level 3 qualifications under the Qualifications Framework (QF).  The Printing and Publishing industry, with 436 applicants, has the largest number of applicants.  The number of applicants of the Printing and Publishing, Hairdressing, and Watch and Clock industries account for about 1.5%, 1.4% and 1.1% of the total number of employees in the respective industries.

(b) To promote the RPL mechanism, we embarked on a series of publicity and promotional activities in collaboration with the Assessment Agency last year.  These activities included organising 19 exhibitions or promotional events specifically for the three industries running the RPL pilot scheme, visiting 114 trade associations, labour unions, organisations or companies of these industries, participating in 21 promotional events organised by trade associations or labour unions, giving 14 media interviews, publicising feature articles/advertisements in 10 newspapers or trade magazines, and distributing 15,000 promotional leaflets.

     In the next few years, we will step up our publicity and promotion efforts on the RPL mechanism.  In addition to the on-going publicity activities, we plan to organise more promotional activities together with the relevant trade associations and labour unions.  We will also continue to enhance publicity of the QF and the RPL mechanism through different channels, including Announcements of Public Interest, newspapers and electronic media.

(c) Participation in the RPL scheme is voluntary.  There is also a five-year transitional period for each of the participating industry.  During the transitional period, employees may apply for recognition of qualifications at Levels one to three under QF based on their years of service and relevant experience, without having to undergo any assessment.  After the expiry of the transitional period, all levels of qualifications must be attained through assessments.  As such, stakeholders in the industries concerned generally expect that the number of applicants will increase gradually at the later stage of the transitional period.

     We will continue to monitor the implementation of the RPL mechanism and encourage training providers to offer more suitable programmes for the employees to pursue continuous learning after attaining different levels of qualifications.  We will also maintain close liaison and communication with the stakeholders, including trade associations and labour unions.  We will conduct a comprehensive review when the two-year pilot scheme ends in the middle of next year, and collect feedbacks from different stakeholders with a view to further refining the RPL mechanism.

Ends/Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Issued at HKT 14:01


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