Monitoring of certificate to degree courses jointly organized with overseas institutes
Date of sitting: 13 March 2002
Asked by: Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Replied by: SEM
With regard to courses at diploma to degree levels conducted in Hong Kong individually or jointly by local education institutes (except those registered in accordance with the relevant university and post-secondary education ordinances) and non-local education institutes, will the Government inform this Council of :
the respective numbers of applications received by the Government with respect to courses conducted in Hong Kong by the local education institutes and those conducted in co-operation with non-local education institutes, and the numbers of applications approved over the past five years; whether it has provided any support or funding to these education institutes, and helped them start such courses;
- the ordinances governing the quality of the courses conducted jointly by the local and non-local education institutes; and the organizations responsible for monitoring the quality of teaching upon registration of these courses; and
- details of the authorities' arrangements for monitoring matters concerning the payment and refund of fees for courses conducted individually or jointly by the local and non-local education institutes?
- Over the past five years, the Non-local Courses Registry under the Education and Manpower Bureau has received a total of 912 applications for registration or exemption from registration* of non-local higher and professional education courses. Of these, 331 have been approved for registration and 363 have been exempted from registration. At present, the Government does not provide any subsidy or funding support for educational institutions offering these courses. Students enrolled in these courses may apply for non-means tested loans from the Student Financial Assistant Agency to cover their tuition fees.
*Section 8 of the Non-local Higher and Professional Education (Regulation) Ordinance (Cap. 493) stipulates that courses conducted by non-local institutions of higher education or professional bodies in collaboration with local higher education institutions (including UGC-funded institutions, Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Shue Yan College and Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts) listed in Schedule 1 of the Ordinance shall be exempted from registration.
- Non-local higher and professional education courses conducted in Hong Kong are regulated under the Non-local Higher and Professional Education (Regulation) Ordinance (Cap. 493). The Ordinance requires the non-local institutions awarding the academic or professional qualifications to be recognized in their respective countries, and the courses conducted by them in Hong Kong to be maintained at a standard comparable with that of the home courses. Course operators are required to provide annual reports to the Registry setting out the operation of the courses offered in the past year, including course content, teacher qualifications, etc. The Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation (HKCAA) will advise the Registry on programme quality and standard. If needed, HKCAA will approach course operators and non-local institutions for a detailed understanding of the conduct of the courses. It will also examine the annual reports submitted. For courses conducted by non-local educational and professional institutions in collaboration with local tertiary institutions, quality assurance is the responsibility of the local institutions.
- To safeguard the interests of students, the Ordinance provides that in general, operators of registered courses should not collect more than three months' tuition fees. Upon the cancellation of registration or exemption, or the premature cessation of a course, the course operator has to refund the fees for the remaining part of the course to students within one month. Any person who contravenes the above requirements commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of HK$25,000 and to imprisonment for six months.