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Private donations received by HKU

LEGCO QUESTION NO. 16(WRITTEN REPLY)


Date of Meeting: 20 December 2000



Asked by : Hon Emily LAU

Replied by : SEM

Question :

In response to a question I raised last month, the Secretary for Education and Manpower stated that the University of Hong Kong ("HKU") had not used any public funds for the payment of termination compensation to its former Vice-Chancellor, and that it was not appropriate to demand details of the termination compensation on grounds of the university's autonomy. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council whether:

  1. they know the total amount of private donations received by HKU in the past three years; of the criteria or guidelines followed by HKU in respect of the use of such donations; and how it accounts to the public and the donors concerned for details on the use of such donations; and

  2. they have assessed if enquiries on the details of the use of private donations would interfere with the autonomy of the university; if the assessment concludes that is the case, of the justifications for that; if the assessment concludes otherwise, whether they will seek from HKU details of the termination compensation mentioned above?


Reply:

Madam President,

a. According to the information provided by the University of Hong Kong, the total amount of private donations received in the past three years is as follows:

1999/2000 HK$290 million
1998/1999 HK$415 million
1997/1998 HK$225 million

The donations are used in accordance with the relevant legislation, internal guidelines and the donors' wish. The total amount of donations received and expended, verified by independent auditors, is published in the University's annual financial report.
b. The Government and the University Grants Committee (UGC) encourage institutions to actively seek private donations, in addition to public funds, for the enhancement of the institutions' development. The institutions' operation is monitored by their governing Councils and their financial reports are published in accordance with relevant legislations. Whilst the institutions have to be accountable to the UGC and the Government for the use of public funds, they are accountable to the donors for the use of private donations. If the donations are not put to proper use or used in ways which do not conform to the donors' wish, the institutions' ability to raise private funds will be affected. Therefore, the Government considers it unnecessary and inappropriate to interfere with the use of private donations by the institutions.
Last revision date: 20 December 2000
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