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English standard of university students

LEGCO QUESTION No. 18(WRITTEN REPLY)

(WRITTEN REPLY)
Date of Sitting: 9 January 2002



Asked by : Hon Yeung Yiu-chung
Replied by : SEM

Question :

Regarding the English standard of university students, will the Government inform this Council :

  1. of the total financial resources allocated for enhancing the English standard of university students in each of the past five years, broken down by items;



  2. whether it knows the operational details of the English proficiency tests to be organized by various public-funded tertiary institutions for their graduating students, and whether an inter-institutional body will be formed to coordinate the relevant work (such as setting and marking the test papers); if so, when such body will be formed and the resources required each year; and

  3. whether it plans to stipulate the attainment of a certain level in the above English proficiency test as an entry requirement for the relevant grades in the Civil Service?



Reply:

Madam President,

  1. The University Grants Committee (UGC) allocates financial resources to UGC-funded institutions by way of a triennial block grant. Subject to their academic development proposals, the institutions are free to decide on how the block grant is to be used within the triennium to pursue their academic objectives, which include language enhancement.

    Since 1991, the UGC has been allocating Language Enhancement Grants in the form of earmarked annual funding to the UGC-funded institutions, on top of their triennial block grant. Over the past five years (i.e. from the 1997-98 to 2001-02 academic years), a total of $437.5 million have been disbursed. A detailed breakdown of annual Language Enhancement Grants allocation by institutions is at Annex. The Grants are used by the institutions for a wide range of language enhancement programmes including language courses and workshops on language learning skills.


  2. The UGC has been working closely with the Heads of Universities Committee to develop a scheme whereby students will be encouraged to take a common English test upon their graduation. Details on the content of the test, supporting mechanism, implementation timetable and resources required have yet to be agreed.

  3. The current arrangement for Civil Service recruitment is that the Government would, having regard to the functional requirements of the vacancies, stipulate relevant academic qualifications and attainments at a certain level in specific subjects in public examinations as entry requirement for appointment to the vacancies. Subject to the operational requirements, the Departments or Grades conducting the recruitment may organise written examinations and interviews to test the language proficiency and other skills of applicants in order to select the most suitable candidates for appointments. In civil service recruitment, we attach great importance to the language proficiency of candidates. We will consider whether attainment of a certain level in the common English test should be stipulated as part of the entry requirement for Civil Service posts after its implementation details are finalised.

Annex
Language Enhancement Grants for UGC-funded Institutions
in 1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2001-02*
Year

Institution
1997-98
($ million)
1998-99
($ million)
1999-2000
($ million)
2000-01
($ million)
2001-02
($ million)
CityU
17.0
17.0
17.0
17.0
17.0
HKBU
6.5
6.5
6.5
6.5
6.5
LU
3.5
3.5
3.5
3.5
3.5
CUHK
14.0
14.0
14.0
14.0
14.0
HKIEd
6.5
6.5
6.5
6.5
6.5
PolyU
17.0
17.0
17.0
17.0
17.0
HKUST
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
HKU
14.0
14.0
14.0
14.0
14.0
Total:
87.5
87.5
87.5
87.5
87.5

*  Allocation determined on the basis of student number at degree and sub-degree levels.


CityU : City University of Hong Kong
HKBU : Hong Kong Baptist University
LU : Lingnan University
CUHK : The Chinese University of Hong Kong
HKIEd : The Hong Kong Institute of Education
PolyU : The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
HKUST : The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
HKU : The University of Hong Kong

 

Last revision date: 09 January 2002
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