Transfers spark degree concerns

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 September, 2007, 12:00am

Concerns have been raised over the quality of associate degree programmes offered by a college affiliated to City University, which said it would transfer 112 of the college's staff.

The university's acting president, Richard Ho Yan-ki, said yesterday 112 staff members with the Community College of City University would be transferred to the School of Continuing and Professional Education (Scope) next July, where they would be teaching top-up degrees.

They would continue to enjoy superannuation status, which is equivalent to tenure in other universities, and would be subject to the same level of pay adjustments as other university staff.

Professor Ho said the university introduced the proposal, which awaits approval from the ruling council, in response to a staff demand to return to the university.

The announcement marked the latest development in a dispute over terms of employment for the 112 staff members who were asked in the 1990s to transfer from the university to the college but who remained university employees.

They teach both top-up and associate degrees at the college.

Earlier this year, there were protests after the university announced 112 teachers and staff would be fired in the 2008-09 academic year. The issue was taken up by legislators but no consensus was reached.

The community college, which offers mainly associate degree programmes, went private in 2004. It will become self-financing next year. Scope focuses on top-up degrees and is part of the university.

Professor Ho said the decision meant the community college would not have to be responsible for the payroll of the superannuation-status staff, allowing it to 'operate with a clean slate' when it became self-financing in July.

Democrat Yeung Sum said he was worried that the quality of associate degree programmes at City University might decline with the departure of experienced staff.

'Associate degrees in general are not very well-regarded. City U's move may generate more negative feelings about them.'

City University staff association vice-chairman Fung Wai-wah said staff were happy about the arrangement but wanted more details.