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LCQ20: Assessment of Mainland and Taiwanese educational qualifications

     Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Kwok-che and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim, in the Legislative Council today (February 20):


     It has been reported that from this year onwards, a total of about 500 sub-degree graduates from nine tertiary institutions in Hong Kong may articulate to study in Year 3 of the undergraduate programmes of over 70 specified universities in Taiwan. However, some members of the public have pointed out that holders of Taiwanese educational qualifications have all along encountered difficulties in seeking assessment of their educational qualifications by the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications (HKCAAVQ). Regarding the assessment of the educational qualifications obtained by Hong Kong people in the Mainland or Taiwan and their employment, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it knows the number of assessment applications received by HKCAAVQ from holders of Taiwanese educational qualifications each year between 2008 and 2012; among such applications, the number and percentage of cases in which the educational qualifications concerned had been assessed as comparable to the level of their counterparts in Hong Kong; of the respective numbers of applications for review of HKCAAVQ's determinations and unsuccessful reviews (set out in a table);

(b) whether it knows which Mainland and Taiwanese universities and their programmes the educational qualifications awarded by which to Hong Kong graduates have been assessed by HKCAAVQ as comparable to the level of their counterparts in Hong Kong;

(c) given that quite a number of Hong Kong students planning to study in the Mainland or Taiwan wish to know, before deciding on their further studies, if the universities and programmes in which they are inclined to study are recognised in Hong Kong, whether the authorities will demand HKCAAVQ to regularly publish the information in (b); if they will, of the time and channels for publishing such information, and whether they will take the initiative to relay such information to the students from Hong Kong who are studying at the universities and in the programmes concerned; if such information will not be published, of the reasons for that;

(d) given that some Members of this Council have questioned the need for HKCAAVQ to independently assess each case of educational qualification assessment according to the individual circumstances of the educational qualification holder, whether the authorities will require HKCAAVQ to change such arrangement to directly conduct accreditation of the educational qualifications awarded by the universities in the Mainland and Taiwan; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(e) as some holders of Taiwanese educational qualifications have relayed that they have found it difficult to secure employment after returning to Hong Kong as their educational qualifications are not generally recognised here, whether the authorities will strive for approval and assistance from the Taiwanese authorities concerned for Hong Kong people to stay after graduation from Taiwanese universities and take up employment there for a period of time, so as to accumulate relevant working experience; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     With the objective of equipping students through education, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) strives to provide quality, diversified and flexible study pathways with multiple entry and exit points for students who have completed secondary education. Having regard to their own interests and abilities, students may opt for different progression pathways, including the pursuit of further studies outside Hong Kong.

(a) The qualifications assessment made by the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications (HKCAAVQ) in response to applications submitted by holders of Taiwanese qualifications between 2008 and 2012 is summarised at Annex.

(b), (c) and (d) The HKCAAVQ provides professional assessment service to individuals possessing qualifications awarded by granting bodies outside Hong Kong. Each application is assessed independently on the basis of the totality of the applicant's qualifications, with emphasis on the integrated learning outcomes of the applicant's highest and terminal qualifications and the components of the course of study (including advanced standing or transfer of credits). The HKCAAVQ assesses whether the totality of an applicant's qualification meets the standard of a particular level of qualification in Hong Kong. Qualifications assessment is not an accreditation of an institution or a programme, and the result relates only to the individual applicant being assessed but not a particular institution or programme. As such, it is inappropriate to publish the names of programmes and institutions involved in qualifications assessment.

     In relation to further study, the HKSAR Government and the Ministry of Education signed the Memorandum of Understanding between the Mainland and Hong Kong on Mutual Recognition of Academic Degrees in Higher Education (MoU) in July 2004. The MoU facilitates the mutual recognition of qualifications for the purpose of further study in recognised Mainland and Hong Kong higher education institutions empowered to award degrees at undergraduate or above levels by simplifying the procedures involved. All the 70 Mainland higher education institutions joining the Scheme for Admission of Hong Kong Students to Mainland Higher Education Institutions in 2013 are included in the list of recognised higher education institutions in both places under the MoU. As such, degrees at undergraduate or above levels awarded by these institutions are recognised by Hong Kong higher education institutions for the purpose of further study, while degrees at undergraduate or above levels awarded by Hong Kong higher education institutions covered by the MoU are recognised by Mainland higher education institutions for the same purpose.

     In terms of employment, recognition of a particular qualification is essentially a matter for the user to decide. In general, it is up to individual employers (both public and private organisations) or professional bodies to decide whether a particular qualification obtained by an applicant should be regarded as meeting the requirements for filling the relevant job position or membership registration. As regards qualifications awarded by bodies outside Hong Kong, the holders would normally seek the assessment of the HKCAAVQ. This notwithstanding, decisions as to whether or not to accept a particular qualification for employment or registration purposes still rest with the employer or body concerned.

     As for civil service appointments, under the existing policy of the Civil Service Bureau (CSB), qualification requirements for civil service posts are normally set with reference to qualifications obtainable under the local education system or from local institutions. Candidates holding non-local qualifications may also apply for civil service posts. As the programmes offered by local and non-local institutions are different in content, these candidates' overall qualifications will be subject to assessment to decide whether they meet the qualification requirements of the posts being applied for. If their qualifications are assessed as comparable in standard to the entry qualification requirements, they will be considered for appointment. Under the existing mechanism, the CSB will seek the advice of the HKCAAVQ or other relevant education institutions where necessary.

(e) To our knowledge, according to the existing regulations in Taiwan, graduates of Taiwanese universities who are of foreign nationalities, from overseas Chinese communities, or of other Chinese origin (including Hong Kong students) may apply to the Taiwan authorities via their employers for employment in the professional or technical fields if their average monthly salary exceeds NT$37,619.

     Generally speaking, the HKSAR Government does not offer assistance to Hong Kong people who graduate outside Hong Kong to seek employment in the place of their graduation. That said, the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office in Taiwan establishes contacts with Hong Kong people in Taiwan (including those pursuing studies there) and provides general assistance to the extent possible.

Ends/Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Issued at HKT 14:01


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