Students unhappy with associate degree courses

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 December, 2006, 12:00am

Nearly 70 per cent of associate degree students say they have faced unfair treatment or discrimination at colleges or universities, according to a survey released yesterday.

They usually had fewer chances to join exchange student schemes or extra curricular activities than undergraduate students, and sometimes could not even vote for student unions, said Dennis Cheng Yiu-tung, spokesman for the Associate Degree Group of City University.

'This kind of unfair treatment has hit us hard and let us down,' Mr Cheng said.

The Alliance for the Concern of Sub-degree Education survey also found that 60 per cent of respondents thought the associate degree courses they had taken did not live up to the promises in the prospectuses.

These respondents said the quota for them to continue studying for a bachelor's degree was less than promised when they started, the recognition of associate degrees among the public was quite low - which made for unpromising job opportunities - and the quality of the courses was not as good as they had expected.

In the 2006/07 academic year, the quota for government-sponsored undergraduate degrees for associate degree students - who start in the second year - is 960.

But this was 'just a ripple in the ocean' compared with more than 30,000 associate degree students in the 2005/06 academic year, said Fung Wai-wah, vice-president of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union.

A total of 1,348 associate degree students from 10 colleges or universities were interviewed in November and December for the survey.