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LCQ5: University education resources

     Following is a question by the Hon Sophie Leung and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (March 21):


     Some local students of the universities in Hong Kong (the universities) relayed to me that there was keen competition for university education resources (including undergraduate places, hostel accommodation, scholarships and postgraduate places, etc.) among local and non-local students.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:

(a) if the various universities have formulated different policies on the allocation of undergraduate places for local and non-local students; if they have, the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(b) the systems for allocating hostel places of the various universities at present; if guidelines have been issued to the universities by the authorities with a view to enhancing transparency of such systems (including the processing of applications from local students); if assessments have been conducted on whether the hostel places of the various universities can meet the needs of both local and non-local students; and

(c) the details (including the ratios between local and non-local students) about the allocation of scholarships and postgraduate places by the various universities at present; if relevant guidelines have been issued to the various universities by the authorities to enable local students to have sufficient opportunities to obtain such resources?


(a) Under the existing policy, University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded institutions may admit non-local students to their sub-degree, degree and taught postgraduate programmes subject to a quota of 20% of the respective approved student number targets of these programmes.  The 20% quota is split into 4% within the approved student number targets and 16% outside the approved student number targets.  In accordance with this policy, institutions may decide on the number of enrolments of non-local students taking into account their own developments.

(b) Under the existing policy, the provision of publicly-funded hostel places from UGC-funded institutions is calculated according to the following criteria:

(i) all undergraduate students should be given the opportunity to stay in student hostels for at least one year of their courses; and

(ii) all research postgraduate students, non-local students as well as undergraduate students whose daily travelling time exceeds four hours should be provided with student hostel places.

     The above criteria are applicable to all UGC-funded institutions except Lingnan University and the Hong Kong Institute of Education (Note 1).

     As the allocation of student hostel places is a matter within institutional autonomy, the UGC has not issued any guidelines to the institutions in this regard.  Each institution has devised and promulgated its own set of criteria and procedures for allocating publicly-funded and privately-funded hostel places for students' reference.  Institutions have also put in place mechanisms for handling students' appeal cases.  In general, institutions will take into account a host of factors when allocating hostel places, including, as far as practicable, giving all undergraduate students the opportunity to stay in student hostels for at least one year of their courses, and giving priority to non-local students, as well as local students with accommodation needs.

     Currently, UGC-funded institutions have some 28 600 publicly-funded hostel places, including about 5 000 places under construction.  In the 2011/12 academic year, 2 883 additional hostel places are required on top of the existing supply level, calculated based on the prevailing enrolment rate of non-local students by the institutions.  With the implementation of the new academic structure, the provision of an additional 380 first-year-first-degree places and 4 000 senior year places, and the anticipated gradual increase in the enrolment rate of non-local students over the 2012/13 to 2014/15 triennium, we expect the additional requirements to further increase to about 13 600 hostel places by the 2014/15 academic year.

     The Administration has been working closely with the UGC and institutions to meet the additional requirements for hostel places.  It is anticipated that a total of some 3 820 publicly-funded hostel places will be provided by six hostel projects under planning.  These projects include one joint hostel project in Tseung Kwan O, and five other hostel projects in Ma Liu Shui/Tai Po, Ma On Shan and Sai Ying Pun.  In addition, it is estimated that some 5 000 additional hostel places can be provided by the institutions within or in the vicinity of their campuses.  The UGC has urged those institutions with available sites to start planning for student hostel projects to meet their additional requirements.  Meanwhile, the Administration will continue to work with the UGC and institutions to identify other new sites and seek the necessary funding support for new hostel projects through the established mechanism.

(c) According to the provisional figures for the 2011/12 academic year, there are 10 258 postgraduate students (including research and taught postgraduate students) in the eight UGC-funded institutions, of which 5 404, or 52.7%, are local students.  As for scholarships, the institutions currently provide a wide range of scholarships for outstanding students using private donations and matching funds.  We do not have any data on the allocation of scholarships by the institutions.  Regarding the HKSAR Government Scholarship Fund (the Fund), its objective is to encourage outstanding local students to stay in Hong Kong to pursue their studies and attract meritorious non-local students to study in Hong Kong.  In the 2010/11 academic year, 294 local students and 220 non-local students were awarded scholarships under the Fund.

Note 1: The Government provides Lingnan University with hostel places for 50% of its full-time degree student population having regard to its remote location and its aspirations to develop itself into a relatively small, fully residential liberal arts institution.  The Hong Kong Institute of Education is provided with hostel places for 50% of its full-time degree student population projected at the time of its establishment having regard to the potential merits that hostel life brings in enhancing pre-service teacher education.

Ends/Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Issued at HKT 15:56


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