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Recognition of the academic standards of Project Springboard graduates


Date of Meeting: 14 March 2001

Asked by : Hon Ambrose LAU

Replied by : SEM

Question :

The Administration announced on 26 December last year that, in recruiting civil servants, it would recognize the Project Springboard certificates as equivalent to five passes in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination ("HKCEE"). It also indicated that it would discuss with employer groups the recognition of the qualifications of Project Springboard. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the number of Government jobs for which people with five passes in HKCEE may apply in each of the past three years;

  2. how it can ensure that graduates of Project Springboard have attained an academic standard comparable to those with five passes in HKCEE;

  3. whether it plans to set up a common assessment mechanism to ensure that graduates of Springboard programmes organized by different institutions have attained the required standards; and

  4. of the progress of its discussions with employer groups?


Madam President,

a. For the past three years, the number of government jobs which were available for application by persons with five passes in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) are as follows:

  1998 1999 2000
No. of civil service jobs some 6700 some 1500 some 1200
No. of full-time non-civil service jobs some 3100 some 3600 some 4800

b. In deciding the acceptance of the full Project Springboard certificates as meeting the entry qualifications for appointment to Government jobs requiring five passes in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) (including Chinese and English), the Government has made reference to an independent assessment carried out by the Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation (HKCAA).

The HKCAA is the only statutory body for academic assessment in Hong Kong. Having examined the programme structure, design and content of individual courses, teaching and learning materials, modes of teaching and assessment methods, it concluded that the Project Springboard programme, in totality, can be expected to appropriately prepare its students with a general knowledge and skills for employment purpose, which is comparable to the level of knowledge and skills expected of a student with five passes in the HKCEE.

The Government has also taken into account the quality assurance process put in place by the Federation of Continuing Education in Tertiary Institutions (FCE), in which academics, educationalists, quality assurance experts and representatives of employers and Government participate.

The HKCAA will conduct another assessment on the course delivery of Project Springboard programmes, including performance evaluation and monitoring of student outcomes during the next few months. A comprehensive evaluation of Project Springboard will be conducted upon the end of the first year of its operation. These studies will help reassure that the Project Springboard programmes, in terms of their design and delivery, will enable students to acquire the knowledge and skills levels comparable to five HKCEE passes.

As for the quality of individual students, the FCE will adhere to the well-established principle of "lenient in enrolment; stringent in graduation" in awarding qualifications under Project Springboard. Students have to pass the assessments (including course work and examinations) before obtaining the full Project Springboard certificates.
c. There is no common assessment mechanism for Project Springboard. However, the FCE has issued guidelines on teaching materials, course delivery, assignments and assessment methods as well as model examinations papers for the core courses to all the ten participating institutions, which are closely followed. The ten institutions would also sit together after each term examination to review the outcomes to ensure consistency. These measures would effectively ensure graduates from different institutions are assessed with reference to similar standards.
d. We have written to the major chambers of commerce, introducing to them Project Springboard and encouraging them to follow Government's example in treating Project Springboard graduates as comparable with secondary five leavers for recruitment purposes. We have also issued letters to all companies with an establishment of 200 or more to invite them to briefing sessions on Project Springboard to be held in April/May.
Last revision date: 14 March 2001
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