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LCQ20: Qualifications Framework

     Following is a question by the Hon Kwok Wai-keung and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Education, Mr Kevin Yeung, in the Legislative Council today (January 7):


     Regarding the implementation of the Qualifications Framework (QF), will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the number of employees and its percentage in the labour force of Hong Kong in respect of each of the industries which have established Industry Training Advisory Committees (ITACs); which industries the ITACs of which are currently drawing up the Specifications of Competency Standards;

(2) of the total number of QF-related training courses offered by accredited training providers in the past three years, with a breakdown by industry and by the QF level that could be obtained after completion of the courses, as well as the respective percentages of such courses in the total number of training courses provided; the total number of persons who completed such courses, and the percentage of such number in the total number of persons who enrolled in such courses, with a breakdown by industry and by the QF level obtained; if the authorities do not have the aforesaid statistics, of the reasons for that and whether they will consider compiling such statistics;

(3) of the years in which various industries launched their Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) mechanisms, and the respective numbers of practitioners of such industries who have obtained qualifications recognition through such mechanisms so far, as well as (i) a breakdown of such numbers by QF level and (ii) the percentages of such numbers in the total numbers of practitioners in the industries concerned; and

(4) of the new measures taken by the authorities in the past three years to encourage more working persons to apply for RPL?



     The Government launched the Qualifications Framework (QF) in 2008 with a view to encouraging lifelong learning and enhancing the competitiveness of the workforce in Hong Kong. The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) mechanism is established under QF to enable employees of various backgrounds to receive formal recognition of the knowledge, skills and experience already acquired.

     My reply to various parts of the question is as follows:

(1) As at January 1, 2015, we have assisted 20 industries in setting up 19 Industry Training Advisory Committees (ITACs) under QF, covering about 52 per cent of the working population in Hong Kong. It is noteworthy that starting from January 1, 2015, the Beauty ITAC and Hairdressing ITAC have merged to become the Beauty and Hairdressing ITAC; and the Chinese Catering ITAC has extended its ambit to cover the whole catering industry and is renamed as the Catering ITAC. The numbers of employees of these industries and their percentages in the working population in Hong Kong are set out at Annex 1. Of these 20 industries, 17 have drawn up their Specifications of Competency Standards (SCSs). As regards the remaining three industries, the Manufacturing Technology (Tooling, Metals & Plastics) ITAC has finished drafting its SCS and is now making revision to the draft upon completion of consultation with the industry, with the finalised SCS expected to be issued in the second quarter of 2015; the Security Services ITAC is preparing the draft; and the Cross-ITAC for the Human Resource Management Sector will commence drafting its SCS in early 2015.

(2) As at late December 2012, late December 2013 and late December 2014, there were 7 756, 7 945 and 8 148 QF-recognised qualifications and their associated education and training programmes (including those still within their Registration Validity Period (RVP) and those with their RVP yet to commence) respectively as listed on the Qualifications Register, categorised by Primary Areas of Study/Training. The numbers of qualifications under each Primary Area of Study/Training and at each QF Level, as well as the percentages in the total number of qualifications, are set out at Annex 2 to 4. As these programmes, which include quite many self-financed ones, are provided by more than 200 education and training institutions of various kinds, the Administration does not have information on the number of people who have enrolled in/completed these programmes; nor does it have any plans to keep those statistics.

(3) Currently, the RPL mechanism is implemented in 10 industries. As at the end of November 2014, over 11 600 employees have been awarded statements of attainment through the mechanism, involving more than 20 600 statements at QF Levels 1 to 4. Details of the number of employees and statements of attainment by industry and QF Level as well as their percentages in the total number of employees in the industries concerned are at Annex 5.

(4) Since the implementation of QF in 2008, the Government has been striving to assist industries in implementing the RPL mechanism. Over the past three years, we have taken the following measures to encourage and assist practitioners in seeking RPL:

(a) extending the transitional period for the first three pilot industries that implemented the RPL mechanism, namely, Printing and Publishing, Watch and Clock and Hairdressing, by two years from May 2013 to May 2015 to encourage participation of practitioners. During the transitional period, practitioners may apply for recognition of qualifications at QF Levels 1 to 3 by producing documentary proofs of their years of relevant working experience, without the need to take any formal assessment tests;

(b) introducing individual portfolio as an alternative means of application in June 2013, through which practitioners unable to produce documentary proofs of work experience as required may opt to submit other supporting documents (such as curriculum vitae and entries for competitions etc.) and subject themselves to assessment test in order to apply for RPL;

(c) removing the ceiling on the reimbursement of assessment fees for each applicant under the RPL Support Scheme (the reimbursement amount being capped at $3,500 for each practitioner previously) upon introduction of the Qualifications Framework Fund on September 1, 2014 so that those who wish to take more RPL assessments may apply for fee reimbursement;

(d) organising a variety of promotional activities, including production of promotional videos and leaflets, organising the RPL Sharing Session in November 2013, the Qualifications Framework Partnerships Commendation Ceremony in December 2014 in recognition of relevant stakeholdersˇ¦ support and participation in the QF (including the RPL mechanism), and large-scale publicity activities for individual industries such as the QF Hair Show and RPL Kick-off Ceremonies; and

(e) further enhancing publicity in industries by paying visits to the companies/trade unions/merchants' associations/professional bodies of the stakeholders to encourage more RPL applications from practitioners as well as to promote recognition of RPL qualifications by respective industries.

Ends/Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Issued at HKT 11:51


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