Students seek term change
Polytechnic University students are demanding that their terms start and finish earlier so they can compete with other graduates seeking jobs.
Weeks or even days could make a difference, they say, as students would then enter the job market at the same time as competitors from other universities.
The Polytechnic University is considering the matter.
It is understood that some departments of the Polytechnic arranged special final examinations for individual students last summer so they could leave earlier and start working for the civil service.
Some students had passed interviews and were about to be offered jobs but had not completed their exams.
They approached counsellors in the university's student affairs office to seek help on early graduation.
External affairs secretary of the university's students union Ray Chan Chor-kuen confirmed that students wanted to know whether they could start and finish their studies earlier, particularly during the economic slump.
The Polytechnic's academic year usually begins in late September and ends in June, while other institutes start in early September and finish as early as the beginning of May.
The difference of a few weeks or even a few days was important for students, said Mr Chan, a first-year student.
'We are unhappy about our starting late as it means we will have to graduate later than students in other institutes,' he said.
'With the keen competition, the faster we finish our education, the better will be our chance to find summer or full-time jobs.
'Also, we have difficulty co-operating with the other institutes for joint activities because we have different timetables to them.' The university has decided to start this academic year on September 13 - earlier than usual, although still later than some other institutes.
But it would be difficult to bring forward the date beyond that as the institute must wait for the results of the Joint Admission System for Polytechnics, Technical Institutes and Colleges diploma courses which do not come out until after the Hong Kong Certificate of Education examination results in August.