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EDB to launch second round of Pilot Project on Development of Applied Degree Programmes
     The Education Bureau (EDB) today (March 7) announced the launch of the second round of the Pilot Project on the Development of Applied Degree Programmes (Pilot Project) to nurture more high-quality talent with applied skills. It is expected that the programmes will be launched in the 2024/25 academic year at the earliest.
     An EDB spokesman said, "To tie in with the strategy of fostering industry-institution collaboration and diversified development for promoting vocational and professional education and training (VPET) as announced in "The Chief Executive's 2022 Policy Address", and to follow up on the announcement in the 2023-24 Budget, the Government will launch the second round of the Pilot Project with a view to reviewing and fostering the development of applied degrees in Hong Kong, as well as strengthening the VPET progression pathway at the post-secondary level."
     Institutions offering self-financing degree programmes under the Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors (SSSDP) will be invited to submit proposals for the second round of the Pilot Project. Each selected institution will be invited to develop up to two applied degree programmes by modifying the programme structure and curriculum of existing degree programme(s) with stronger industry elements in an industry with keen manpower demand, with reference to the coverage of the SSSDP. Those industries not covered by the first round will be accorded priority.  
     The Pilot Project aims to gain experience in the practical issues involved in the development of applied degree programmes and to assess the implications for the higher education system as a whole. The first round covers four applied degree programmes launched in the 2022/23 academic year in four disciplines, namely nursing; testing and certification; horticulture, arboriculture and landscape management; and gerontology.
     Applied degrees should have the following distinct and prominent features that differentiate them from other degree programmes:
(a)    the qualifications should be equivalent to those of conventional academic degrees (i.e. to be pitched at Qualifications Framework Level 5);
(b)   a more flexible admission requirement should be adopted. Apart from academic results, other relevant factors (e.g. skills-based competence and achievements, and work experience) should also be considered;
(c)    applied degree programmes should have an applied focus blending theory and practice, provide substantial internships and work-based learning experience, and prepare graduates for a specific trade or industry, although they can also support articulation to other qualifications; and
(d)   there must be strong industry involvement in the development of applied degrees with trade recognition.
Ends/Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Issued at HKT 11:30
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