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LCQ10: Hong Kong Qualifications Framework
     Following is a question by Reverend Canon the Hon Peter Douglas Koon and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Dr Choi Yuk-lin, in the Legislative Council today (January 18):
     The Government launched the Hong Kong Qualifications Framework (HKQF) in 2008 and, to tie in with the HKQF's implementation, the Education Bureau (EDB) has set up Industry Training Advisory Committees (ITACs) for 23 industries. Regarding the HKQF's implementation and its collaboration with the qualifications framework (QF) of the Mainland cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the current total number of industries for which the development of the Vocational Qualifications Pathway (VQP) has been completed, and the current total number of VQP courses included in the Qualifications Register; whether, in the coming three years, the authorities will draw up the VQP for those industries that have already established their ITACs; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(2) of the current total number of industries implementing the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) mechanism; the number of applications for RPL assessment from practitioners which have been processed or are being processed by the assessment agencies concerned and, among such applications, the number of clusters of units of competencies involved; whether it has plans to extend the mechanism to more industries; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(3) of the respective current total numbers of industries offering the "One Trade Test, Two Certificates" and the "One Examination, Multiple Certification" arrangements, as well as the current number of candidates who have successfully passed the relevant tests/examinations and obtained recognition of the qualifications concerned;
(4) given that in 2019, Hong Kong's EDB and the Guangdong Province's Department of Education signed a Letter of Intent on Qualifications Framework Co-operation between Hong Kong and Guangdong, which covers joint promotion of QF co-operation between Guangdong and Hong Kong, exploration of establishing a mechanism for mutual recognition of credits at various levels and in various categories of education and training in the GBA, as well as promotion of talent exchange in the GBA, of the details of the relevant work and the progress made so far; and
(5) to promote mutual recognition of professional qualifications in the GBA, whether the authorities have plans to set up jointly with the governments of various GBA cities a "policy bureau of mutual recognition of professional qualifications in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area" dedicated to the centralised and unified co-ordination, management, vetting and support in respect of work on mutual recognition of professional qualifications in various cities within GBA; if so, of the details and timetable; if not, the reasons for that?
     The Hong Kong Qualifications Framework (HKQF) is a seven-level hierarchy covering qualifications in the academic, vocational and professional, and continuing education and training sectors, with clear and objective standards applicable to such qualifications. The primary objective of the HKQF is to promote lifelong learning with a view to continuously enhancing the quality, professionalism and competitiveness of our workforce. Our response to different parts of the question is as follows:
(1) The Vocational Qualifications Pathway (VQP) under the HKQF represents a roadmap for progression in learning and employment in an industry. Specifically, the VQP identifies the QF Level, scope of learning, Specification of Competency Standards (SCS) required, learning outcomes, and assessment criteria of the required occupation-based qualifications for each principal job role. The VQP is developed in consultation with the Industry Training Advisory Committee (ITAC) concerned to ensure that occupation-based qualifications developed under the VQP best meet the needs of the industry and assure that the abilities of the qualifications holders could perform the relevant duties well, thereby further enhancing the synergy between learning and employment. The development of the VQP for six industries (including the automotive, banking, property management, elderly care service, printing and publishing, and insurance industries) has been completed. At present, there are about 60 VQP courses on the Qualifications Register. We will expedite the development of the VQP and consult the respective ITACs to increase the number of industries adopting the VQP from six at present to at least 18 in the next five years.
(2) The HKQF not only covers qualifications obtained from academic education and training, but also enables formal recognition of the skills, knowledge, and relevant experience acquired by practitioners in the workplace through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) mechanism which is based on the competency standards set out in the SCS of various industries. At present, the RPL mechanism has been implemented in 18 industries (Note). As at end November 2022, more than 38 300 applications from practitioners for assessment under the RPL mechanism, involving over 86 800 clusters of units of competencies, were processed or being processed by the assessment agencies concerned. We will continue to explore extending the RPL mechanism to other industries and work closely with our industry partners to further refine the RPL mechanism to address the manpower needs of the industries.
(3) At present, the Vocational Training Council implements the "One Examination, Two Certifications" or "One Examination, Multiple Certification" arrangements in three industries, namely the electrical maintenance, beauty and hairdressing industries. Under the arrangements, candidates need to pass only one common examination to have their qualifications recognised by Hong Kong, the Mainland, and/or international professional organisations. Since 2013, more than 2 600 candidates have passed the examinations and obtained relevant qualifications. Other training providers may determine whether to provide similar arrangements in their programmes. We do not have relevant figures.
(4) and (5) At present, relevant bureaux and departments maintain communication with relevant Mainland authorities for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications of individual professions. As regards the HKQF, the Education Bureau (EDB) is stepping up our work with the Mainland. Since the Letter of Intent on QF Co-operation between Hong Kong and Guangdong was signed between the EDB and the Department of Education of Guangdong Province in 2019, and to cope with the rapid development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in recent years, the EDB, the QF Secretariat, and the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications (HKCAAVQ) have been co-operating with the relevant authorities in the Guangdong Province to foster collaboration between the two places on QF related matters. In early 2022, the HKCAAVQ accepted an invitation from the relevant authorities in the Guangdong Province to provide a two-year consultancy service to the latter to support the development of the Guangdong Lifelong Education Qualifications Framework, including providing assistance in establishing a quality assurance mechanism, accreditation standards and procedures, piloting accreditation exercises, and developing guidelines for setting up a qualifications register, thereby laying the foundation for further liaison and co-operation between the qualifications frameworks of the two places in the long term, with a view to facilitating mutual recognition of qualifications in more industries.
Note: Automotive, beauty, catering, elderly care service, electrical and mechanical services, fashion, hairdressing, import and export, information and communications technology, jewellery, logistics, manufacturing technology (tooling, metals and plastics), printing and publishing, property management, retail, security services, testing, inspection and certification, as well as watch and clock.
Ends/Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Issued at HKT 12:20
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