Matching funds scheme extended

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 December, 2007, 12:00am

Legislators yesterday approved extending the HK$1 billion matching grants scheme to two private universities from January. Previously only University Grants Council-funded institutions were eligible to take part.

The matching funds scheme will now cover 10 tertiary institutions in its fourth round. This is the first time the scheme, launched in 2002, has been extended to private institutions.

As well as seven UGC-funded universities and the Hong Kong Institute of Education, the Open University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Shue Yan University will be allowed to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching for the first HK$45 million in donations received by the end of next year.

The majority of legislators voted in support of the proposal yesterday.

However, Democrat Cheung Man-kwong, legislator for the education sector, called for the government to allow the matching funding to be extended to self-financed sub-degree programmes.

'Non-local students in private universities can benefit from the fund but a local student on a self-financing sub-degree programme cannot.

'This proposal is a double jeopardy to self-financing sub-degree students,' Mr Cheung said.

Deputy Secretary for Education Michael Wong Wai-lun said spending part of the fund on sub-degrees would 'weaken resources that have been set aside for degree-level programmes'.

'We will conduct a review of local sub-degree programmes later, with results expected to be out in the first quarter of next year,' he said. 'We will consider this idea during the review.'