New policy on associate degree stirs debate

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 April, 2010, 12:00am

Some students say Baptist University's ruling on associate degrees is not ideal. The School of Continuing Education at Baptist U has announced that publicly funded universities will allow associate degree graduates to enter Year Three when the new four-year university structure is introduced in 2012.

Current associate degree graduates enter university as Year Two students under the current three-year university programme. This means they have to spend an extra year to earn a Bachelor's degree, compared to mainstream university students. Under the new policy, it will take both associate degree students and university students four years to graduate.

Matthew Kam, a Form Four student from Po Leung Kuk Laws Foundation College, will be among the first batch of students under the four-year university structure.

'I think allowing associate degree graduates to enter Year Three is not fair on students whose results are good enough to directly enter university. Students study associate degrees because their results are not as good,' he said.

Lau Cheuk-yin, Kam's classmate, says associate degree students should study for an extra year to better prepare them for work.

'Associate degree students may have a weaker foundation. They may need more time to catch up. But the good thing about the new policy is that it provides a safety net for students in case they don't do well - they will still graduate within the same time as others,' she said.

Simon Wong Chi-hon, dean of Baptist U's School of Continuing Education, says the new policy is designed to attract students with better results to join the school.

'Students with good results are guaranteed a Year Three place at our university upon completing their associate degrees. They don't have to worry about not getting a university degree, he explains.