• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 1:59pm
NewsHong Kong

From shortage of Hong Kong university places to glut by 2016

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 April, 2013, 5:12am

Hong Kong's shortage of university places could turn into a glut in three years as student numbers fall and competition from private institutions increases.

In the 2013-2014 academic year there will be 22,000 places available at public and private universities for the 27,000 secondary school pupils likely to meet the minimum entry requirement to study for a degree.

But this situation is expected to reverse by 2016 and universities need to consolidate, according to the Education Bureau.

Education-sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen said that meant the government's ambitious efforts in recent years to expand tertiary education might mean institutions that had misplanned their expansion having to close.

Michelle Li, the bureau's deputy secretary for higher education, said there would be an estimated 23,200 university places for the 22,000 students expected to meet entry requirements in 2016.

The number of Form Six students is forecast to drop from 71,700 this year to 59,400 in three years, and to 45,100 in 2022.

Li said the sector should not see filling up places as its main roles, so enrolments should drop.

Critics blame the problem on poor forecasts of population size - including permanent residents and expatriate workers. They say such figures are key to the planning and retention of talent.

The abundance of higher education places has also spurred concerns about graduates' attractiveness to employers.

"This is clearly [due to a] lack of planning," Ip said. The government must ensure that students' interests would not be compromised by college closures and that the quality of degrees would be maintained, he said.

The government must ensure that students' interests would not be compromised by college closures and that the quality of degrees would be maintained

The bureau's estimates do not include overseas students and adult learners.

Also yesterday, a set of guidelines - aimed at improving the governance of private tertiary institutions, some of which have been accused of over-enrolment - were published.

The bureau says it will introduce measures to stop them accepting students who are weak academically but strong in other aspects.

They will also have to seek approval for their enrolment ceilings, but the bureau did not specify a cap on enrolment for individual colleges, saying they would depend on their capacity and teacher numbers.

While most local university places are funded by the government, tens of thousands are offered by the private sector, including for degree courses.



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This article is now closed to comments

its ridiculous to suggest our youngsters does not wish to attend Universities locally. I am sure that figure of only 22000 people who wants, and qualifies entry requirements, is WRONG!! Can some LEGCO member ask a few detail questions on this, and other related matters?
even with the drop in Form 6 students, hasn't our Education Dept learnt from recent fiasco with kinderkarten in northern NT!!!!!!!!!!! Does Education Dept really expects all those kindergarten children will not graduate from Form 6 soon after 2022? If these children don't die or drop out, they should reach Form 6 by say 2028, so, can Ms. Li plan for them? Afterall, the main complaint recently was lack of planning - by killing off kindergartens / primary schools in NT!! So, is Ms. Li suggesting another BIG mistake here!!!!
Two comments: First, the so called "glut" will open up places for students from China and other parts of the world. This would be wonderful for these students and would enable HK students to learn and compete with the best students from across the globe. Second, regarding the suggestion to consolidate our tertiary institutions, this is a great idea. Separate, they are at best middle tier. United, they would offer truly world class educational opportunities.


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