Finances are healthy at the Hong Kong Institute of Education despite the need to dip slightly into its reserves following the economic downturn, its president says.
The impact of the financial crisis had been 'minimal' and would not affect the institute's development in the 2009-12 funding period, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said at its spring media reception yesterday.
'We are dipping into part of the reserves with the support of the institute's council to uplift the overall academic capacity of the institution and implement some strategic directions,' he said.
Cheung stressed that the institute's investment strategy was prudent - it was only using a portion of the reserves and some of the spending would be 'front-loading' finance for new programmes and initiatives that would become self-financing.
'The overall strategy remains that in the medium term our budget will be a balanced one,' he said. 'At the same time we will develop new sources of funding. We have developed some programmes to raise funds and set up a new office.'
Initiatives in the pipeline include setting up an endowed chair professorship, recruiting six or seven new professors, and launching new undergraduate programmes for self-financing students.
Details of two new degrees that will be launched in September under a HK$22 million plan to offer 120 fresh undergraduate places in three new subjects and set up 30 more postgraduate places were unveiled.
The Bachelor of Arts in language studies will train students to become trilingual in Cantonese, Putonghua and English, and develop intercultural awareness.
The Bachelor of Social Sciences in global and environmental studies is an interdisciplinary programme. Both degrees aim to attract students from the mainland and abroad.