Open University grants concession to PolyU students A new agreement will open the door for more full-degree places for graduates of Polytechnic University's associate degree programmes. Polytechnic University (PolyU) and the Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK) signed an agreement yesterday granting graduates 80 course credits towards a full degree at OUHK. This means students need only 40 credits that can be completed in a year for a full degree. Graduates of associate degrees - which usually take two years to complete and are popular among Form Seven students who fail to enter university - are entitled to second-year places and can study a further two years to graduate. But only a fraction of associate degree graduates can move on to full degree studies locally because of limited places. Various institutions offer more than 10,000 associate degree places. OUHK provides an option for these students, said vice-president Danny Wong Shek-nam. It offers two types of degree: the ordinary one, which requires three years of study to complete, and the four-year honours programmes. 'We will review the situation if there is limited social acceptance of our ordinary degree graduates,' Professor Wong said. 'But such degrees are recognised in Australia and qualify one to pursue taught master's courses [as opposed to research postgraduate degrees]. We expect the graduates to be competent enough for the job market.' An adult education institution offering mainly distance courses, OUHK will rent premises near its Ho Man Tin campus to accommodate students for the start of its new face-to-face programmes in September. Hong Kong Community College, PolyU's provider of the associate degree programmes, is also increasing its student intake from 2,400 this year to 3,000 in 2008, said its director, Simon Leung Tak-wing. The demand for degree places was great, he said. 'Some may choose to work and study part-time now that the economy is improving, and OUHK will be an option for them,' he said. Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa pledged in his policy address to provide 840 second-year degree places at universities annually in the coming years to accommodate the huge number of associate degree graduates hoping to further their studies.