South Korea

University cuts

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 November, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 November, 2003, 12:00am


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I write in response to the government's proposal to cut university spending.

Education is a long-term investment rather than an expenditure. I am opposed to budget cuts to accumulate savings while alternatives exist.

Nowadays, Hong Kong students are considered below standard in coping with the challenges of a knowledge-based economy.

Only some 18 per cent of students can get a degree programme in local universities, compared with 60 per cent in Taiwan and 38 per cent in South Korea.

So Hong Kongers' education standard is rather low and there is an urgent need for improvement. Otherwise, we cannot make a stand in the 'globalised' world.

This point is widely recognised by government officials. I remember vividly how our government pledged to revive the education system with a series of reforms, including extending university education from three to four years and cutting the number of pupils in each class. But now it all seems to be a remote dream.

Some officials have hinted that budget cuts may be extended to primary and secondary schools. It appears that the government is somehow testing the limit of the universities and turning the 'target' to schools after the former's outcry.

I feel sympathy for the government's financial burden, but is it appropriate to sacrifice the quality of education while spending millions casually on other events like Harbour Fest?

I hope that the government will think twice before carrying out its proposal.