Government offering more higher education opportunities

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 February, 2016, 4:04pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 February, 2016, 4:04pm

I refer to Siddharth Sengupta’s letter (“Sore lack of university places in HK”, February 1).

All along, the government has been striving to provide secondary school leavers with flexible and diversified articulation pathways with multiple entry and exit points through promoting the quality and sustainable development of the publicly funded and self-financing post-secondary education sectors.

Through the development of both sectors, about 46 per cent of our young people in the relevant cohort now have access to degree-level education. Even if we only count publicly funded undergraduate places, the participation rate of the relevant cohort is now around 24 per cent. This has yet to take into account the fact that around 7 per cent of local Secondary Six graduates would pursue bachelor’s degree programmes outside Hong Kong, some of whom are covered by various scholarships and bursaries.

Apart from the provision of 15,000 publicly funded first-year first-degree places, the current-term government has implemented a series of measures in recent years to further increase subsidised higher education opportunities, in a bid to provide school leavers with broader and more diversified articulation pathways.

These include:

Increasing publicly funded senior-year undergraduate intake places;

Implementing the Multi-faceted Excellence Scholarship scheme to support about 20 students per cohort who excel in sports, arts and/or community services to pursue undergraduate education;

Implementing the Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors to subsidise about 1,000 students per cohort to pursue self-financing undergraduate programmes;

Implementing the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme to support up to 100 outstanding students per cohort to pursue undergraduate and postgraduate studies in renowned universities outside Hong Kong; and

Implementing the Mainland University Study Subsidy Scheme. The last three measures are implemented on a pilot basis and will be reviewed for their effectiveness.

On full implementation of these measures, and given the declining student population, we envisage that there should be sufficient publicly funded and self-financing first-year, first-degree places for all secondary school leavers meeting minimum entrance requirements for undergraduate admission by the 2016/17 academic year.

Sharon Ko, principal assistant secretary for education (higher education)