Sub-degree quality put under close scrutiny

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 July, 2006, 12:00am

A wide-ranging review of quality controls for self-financing sub-degree programmes run by Hong Kong's publicly-funded universities is to begin this summer.

The two-stage review is being launched by the Joint Quality Review Committee, a body set up by university leaders to monitor the quality of programmes in the fast-growing sub-degree sector.

The first stage will be a 'major stock-taking' of quality assurance at the seven universities and one teacher training institute for sub-degree programmes.

It is due to be completed by the end of December to coincide with the launch of the government's Qualifications Framework early next year. Universities given approval will be allowed to place their self-financing programmes on the Qualifications Register.

An in-depth institutional review, due by 2008, of the effectiveness of their quality assurance will follow.

Professor Chan Tsang-sing, the JQRC's new chairman, said that in the first stage, community colleges or continuing education units would be asked to provide an overview of their quality assurance.

'A wide range of evidence will be sought to attest to the effectiveness of the quality assurance systems,' he said. 'There will also be a sharing of good practice amongst member institutions that are identified in the process.'

Professor Chan said the timeframe for the review would be reassessed in the light of a pilot exercise to be conducted shortly. He added that the review panels would include outside experts such as members of major professional bodies and private companies.

The number of self-financed students on sub-degree programmes has risen more than 550 per cent in the past five years from 2,621 to 17,077, according to a review released in March.