THE careers of 12,000 tertiary graduates will be traced under a new study aimed at helping to plan the territory's manpower development. Sponsored by the University and Polytechnic Grants Committee, the study will look at the career path of all the full-time, first-degree graduates of 1988, 1989 and 1990 at the University of Hong Kong, Chinese University, Baptist College and the two polytechnics. The convenor of the steering committee on the study, Grace Chow Chan Man-yuen, who is also director of student affairs at the Chinese University, said tertiary graduates made up about 15 per cent of the working population. Chief researcher Robert Chung Ting-yiu, of the Hong Kong University's Social Sciences Research Centre, said the graduates played an important role in the workforce as many of them took management jobs. ''The relationship between their training at the institutes and career performance would have a bearing on the quality of the entire workforce of the territory,'' Mr Chung said. Mrs Chow said the number of graduates was expected to increase over the next few years with continuing expansion of tertiary education. ''According to the Education and Manpower Branch, 20 per cent of young people in the relevant age group would have a chance to receive tertiary education by 2000,'' Mrs Chow said. Mr Chung said the study would also find out the graduates' emigration trends, which he said was significant for the future of Hong Kong. The study would trace the graduates' record of job changes and the reasons for them, progress in salary and status, job satisfaction and the relationship between the graduates' disciplines of study and their career destinations and performances. ''It is hoped that the study will be of use to the Government in its planning for the manpower development of the territory,'' Mrs Chow said. ''And it is expected that it will be of considerable value both to the grants committee and the institutions in matters pertaining to curriculum planning and development.'' She said the results would also serve as a useful reference to employers in the areas of salary and personnel management and an aid to the career advisory units at various institutions. Questionnaires would be sent to the graduates in January and a report was expected to be completed by July. Mr Chung expected about 90 per cent of the graduates would be contacted and there would be a 50 per cent response rate. Meanwhile, the Board of Education yesterday decided to set up an ad hoc working group to review government policy on kindergartens. Convenor Dr Leslie Lo Nai-kwai said the group would discuss whether kindergartens should become an integral part of education and address the problems of government subsidy and teacher training.