SPACE course has to pay its way
In her letter 'Lifelong learning? Not if it takes an age to complete' (Education Post, January 19) Lam Oi Yi criticised the University of Hong Kong School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPACE) for cancelling a course that she had hoped to take on the grounds of our 'inability to make a good profit' from mounting the course.
The course that Ms Lam had planned to take is the diploma in translation studies that was due to start in May of this year. This diploma is the final stage of a course that consists of three self-contained parts. The first two stages lead to the award of a certificate and then advanced certificate in translation studies, both of which Ms Lam completed. We are very sorry that enrolment to the diploma stage was insufficient to allow us to offer it this year.
I would like to stress, however, that our decision not to offer the course was not made because we did not feel we could make sufficient profit from it: it was simply a reflection of the fact that there were too few students to make it viable. As a self-funding and non profit-making institution, we must ensure that our programmes cover their costs. This is the reality of providing lifelong learning opportunities in a self-financing environment.
While we hope that all the courses we advertise will subsequently take place, we do place a general statement in our prospectus that we reserve the right not to offer programmes if there is insufficient enrolment. We do not aim to make money, but must avoid losing it.
It remains our intention to offer the course again in spring 2003, when we hope there will be sufficient demand.
SPACE secretary and registrar