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LCQ17: Competitive Allocation mechanism of the University Grants Committee

     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 3):


     The University Grants Committee (UGC) introduced the Competitive Allocation mechanism in the 2009-2012 triennium. Under the mechanism, each tertiary institution funded by UGC (institutions) is required to reserve a certain percentage of its first-year first-degree places (places) for reallocation among the various institutions by UGC in the light of the performance of individual institutions. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council if it knows:

(1) in the third triennium (i.e. 2016-2019), (i) the total number of places reserved by various institutions, (ii) the number of places reserved by each institution (with a breakdown by department/programme) and its percentage in the total number of the relevant places originally offered by that institution, as well as (iii) the number of places reallocated to each institution (with a breakdown by department/programme), the percentage of that number in the total number of the relevant places originally offered by that institution, and how that number compares with the number of places reserved by that institution; and

(2) whether UGC has plans to require the various institutions to reserve a higher percentage of places in the fourth triennium for its reallocation; if UGC does, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     The University Grants Committee (UGC) usually conducts academic planning and recurrent grants assessment with its funded institutions on a triennial basis. To ensure that precious publicly funded student places are put to their best use for the benefit of the community, we need to establish a mechanism for re-distribution of places from time to time in order to encourage institutions to review periodically their institutional strategies and academic priorities and advance institutions¡¦ international competitiveness in accordance with the roles of individual institutions and the higher education sector as a whole. To this end, we have adopted the Competitive Allocation Mechanism (CAM) since the 2009/10 to 2011/12 triennium to distribute a small number of first-year first-degree (FYFD) places with due regard to institutions¡¦ performance. During the process, FYFD places in disciplines under manpower planning (such as medicine, health sciences and education) are not included in the mechanism. Under the CAM, the UGC conducts the assessment according to agreed criteria, and centrally processes and re-distributes the places among institutions to reflect their comparative merits. For the 2016/17 to 2018/19 triennium, a total of 730 FYFD places (representing 4.9% of the total 15 000 FYFD places) are distributed under the CAM, while the remaining bulk (representing 95.1% of all FYFD places) are unaffected.

     The UGC evaluates the Academic Development Proposals submitted by institutions for the 2016/17 to 2018/19 triennium against four broad assessment criteria, namely ¡§Strategy, Mission and Vision¡¨, ¡§Teaching & Learning¡¨, ¡§Academic Programme Design¡¨, and ¡§Addressing the Needs of Society in General¡¨. The evaluation was carried out in a fair, interactive and transparent manner.

     My reply to Hon Cheung Kwok-che is as follows:

(1) The required information is set out at Annex. However, a breakdown by department/programme is not available. The institutions take into account the overall student number targets as allocated by the UGC (including those FYFD places for distribution under the CAM and the remaining places), their respective strategic objectives, as well as the needs of society when designing their academic portfolio.  Therefore, we are unable to differentiate the number of FYFD intake places allocated under the CAM to individual programmes by the institutions from the overall student number target.

(2) As regards the academic development planning beyond the 2016/17 to 2018/19 triennium, the UGC will work out the details in consultation with the institutions.

Ends/Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:16


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