AN INTERNAL survey conducted by the Hong Kong Management Association (HKMA) has revealed that its members feel existing courses are inadequate to help them improve their management skills in information technology. A spokesman for the HKMA said there were many information technology diploma and certificate courses in Hong Kong but there were no related courses at management level. 'The existing courses cannot cater to their management needs because they are very technical,' he said. 'Hong Kong is actually a very special place vis-a-vis Singapore. The managers here are only the users, not the technology providers. 'They have to master the technology in the sense of managing it, but they do not aim to be information technology specialists. For that matter, we should have a more management-oriented course than what we have now.' To meet this need, the HKMA will offer a new master's degree course on information technology management starting next January. The course will be held in collaboration with Australia's Macquarie University which is now offering two master's degree programmes in human resource management and marketing management. These courses will be held in both Hong Kong and Australia. Basic requirements for the new course are a degree in a related area and three years of relevant work experience. The course will extend over three semesters in which eight units will be carried out within 18 months. Each unit will last for eight weeks including 40 hours of lectures at the HKMA's Wan Chai centre. Students must complete at least one project and sit for one exam for each unit. The units, which cost $10,300 each, will be held consecutively. Students have to pay $82,400 for the programme. Director of Macquarie University's Graduate School of Management, Professor Bernard Carey, told Campus Post that the management course provided flexibility for busy Hong Kong managers. 'This is a 'passport course' which signifies that students can alternatively take their units in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. In so doing, their business schedule would not be adversely affected,' he said. He said that students could also opt to finish all the units intermittently though those who do so will have to prolong their study period. In order to strengthen students' ability to work as a team, the course prompts them to form small groups so that they can extend their management skills in different areas by distributing their workload. 'Students are expected to conduct their projects, whether as a group or individuals, in local companies. This arrangement ensures that they will be imparted with hands-on experience,' Professor Carey said. Professor Carey expects only 50 students will be admitted this year but if applications exceeded that, the university would consider holding more than one class.