STUDENT admission interviews and some courses will be postponed by the Hong Kong Institute of Education as part of a plan to minimise the impact of a strike by lecturers. The screening of students would also be simplified so that fewer interviews were needed, it was announced yesterday. The 400 lecturers are all civil servants who worked in the four colleges of education and the Institute of Language in Education, which are all being merged to form the Institute of Education. They are going on strike because they say they have not been given full details of their new employment package. The lecturers said last night that despite the contingency plans they would go ahead with their planned eight-day industrial action from Tuesday. The lecturers said they would distance themselves from the six-day admission exercise, which was originally to have started next Wednesday. They would also refuse to do any administrative or teaching work during the strike. The director of the institute, Professor Leung Chi-keung, said that because of uncertainties they had decided to postpone the scheduled interviews by about a week. Under the simplified admission arrangement, not all of the 3,700 applicants will have to go through interviews and language tests. Professor Leung said less than half of them were expected to be selected on the basis of their academic performance only. Applicants will receive a letter informing them of the new procedural arrangements, while public announcements will be made in newspapers over the weekend. Professor Leung said the new procedure was an improvement on the existing one, which was expensive given the need to interview all shortlisted applicants. ''Students' interest has to come first and the new arrangement has been designed to alleviate undue uncertainty and to provide a more effective mechanism for selecting quality students,'' Professor Leung said. He said because of the industrial action, about 10 in-service training courses due to start early next month for existing teachers would also be postponed until further notice. The several hundred affected students would be notified individually. Professor Leung met some lecturer representatives yesterday and appealed to them and the Government to put the interests of the students first and expedite a resolution to the dispute. ''If the dispute cannot be resolved, not only the lecturers, but also the students and us will be very unhappy,'' he said. The president of the Association of Lecturers at Colleges of Education, Lai Kwok-chan, said they understood why the institute was making contingency measures, but had reservations about the new admission procedures. ''Interviews are a very important process. You cannot select a student based only on their academic performance,'' Mr Lai said.