Campus' role was carefully defined

CITY Polytechnic Hong Kong (CPHK) has gone through a lengthy process in its bid to become a university.

Before the Government could grant a title change, the role of the new university had to be defined.

'Staff salaries also had to be brought in line with university wages and the polytechnic had to start validating its own courses,' Professor Cheng Yiu-chung, the CPHK director, said.

In July 1992, the Government granted lecturers at the polytechnic teaching degree courses the same pay as those working in a university.

The polytechnic was allowed to validate its own courses last year, after representatives from the Hong Kong Council of Academic Accreditation (HKCAA) visited the campus.

Before self-accreditation was granted courses had to be approved by the HKCAA and validated.

Professor Cheng said with two other polytechnics in the territory also applying for university status, it was necessary to define the role of the new City University of Hong Kong.

'The Government wanted to make sure that when we changed our title to university, we would not forsake all the valuable ideals we had in the past,' he said.

'All our courses are practical and professionally orientated and we have promised to continue in this manner.

'Because there will be other polytechnics becoming universities, the Government wanted to make sure that programmes and courses would not be duplicated.

'Whatever the name - City Polytechnic or City University - the institution will not be changing its characteristics.' Professor Cheng said under its new role, all courses at the university would emphasise close interaction with local business and industry.

Along with applied research, the Government also has asked the polytechnic to increase pure research projects.

The process of changing the institute's title is the final stage and legislation has to be passed before the polytechnic becomes a university.

'The Government has drawn up a master plan for tertiary education, including two comprehensive universities, one technical university and renaming two polytechnics and two liberal arts colleges,' Professor Cheng said.

'Recommendations to change the polytechnic's status made by the University and Polytechnic Grants Committee (UPGC) and the Secretary of Education and Manpower were approved in May. Now, the Polytechnic Ordinance has to be changed and a final draft was finished last month.' The newly drafted ordinance would be submitted to the Government for approval this month before it went to the Legislative Council in November.

'After it has been through Legco, the process will be completed apart from the new ordinance being gazetted,' Professor Cheng said.

'Hopefully, the polytechnic will officially be able to start using its new title by the end of the year.'