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Motion on “Reviving the quality of local education and stopping the blind industrialization of education” (Amendment negatived)

Hon Charles Peter MOK’s amendment

(#Note: Bold and underlined: Additional wording; Deletion line: Deletion of original wording)

That, as the former Chief Executive proposed in 2009 to develop education services, profit-making has consequently become the objective of quite a number of tertiary institutions; for example, the successive uncovering of the over-enrollment and inadequate facilities of the community colleges affiliated to the Lingnan University and to the University of Hong Kong has reflected that in recent years, local post-secondary colleges have, for the sake of chasing profits, concentrated their resources on offering a lot of self-financing degree and associate degree programmes with high tuition fees but recognition of their qualifications in doubt, thus causing local students holding such qualifications upon graduation to face the quandary of having their academic qualifications questioned by employers, and to bear huge amounts of debt due to high tuition fees; besides, since some private universities and the community colleges affiliated to various major institutions have concentrated their limited resources on programmes which aim at attracting mainland students to study in Hong Kong, many local students face the difficult problem of being unable to receive appropriate tertiary education owing to insufficient places despite their fulfillment of the entry requirements; worse still, the Government’s sale of precious land resources to international school groups at nominal prices and its permission for such schools to charge overseas students high tuition fees for profiteering not only cannot help attract foreign investment but also dilute local students’ share of educational resources; the aforesaid practices actually cannot help students to devote themselves to society, are not conducive to upgrading the academic standards of local tertiary institutions, and undermine Hong Kong’s long-term development; in this connection, this Council urges the Government to adopt the following measures:

(1) to reiterate to society that education is for upgrading students’ quality in the five areas of personality, intellectuality, physicality, sociability and aesthetics, increasing upward mobility opportunities for the middle class and the grassroots, narrowing the rich-poor gap and fostering social progress, and is not a profit-making tool for the highest bidder;

(2) to draw up a policy forregulating tertiary institutions on programme offers and student admissionto ensure that the academic standards of the degree programmes offered are recognized by the Government’s on the premise of protecting the autonomy and academic freedom of tertiary institutions, to encourage tertiary institutions to apply to the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications for accreditation of the degree programmes they offer, so as to obtain recognition under the Qualifications Framework; and, all things being equal, to accord admission priority to local students who meet the entry requirements, so as to satisfy local people’s keen demand for education as far as possible;

(3) to ensure that public money is used for upgrading the qualifications of teachers, scientific research capability and campus facilities of local publicly-funded universities, assisting local poor students who meet entry requirements, and financing local outstanding students’ participation in exchange programmes at overseas universities, so as to uphold the principle of public resources for public use; and, to further equip Hong Kong people to meet the ever-growing challenges in the international community, promote Hong Kong’s global competitiveness and maintain Hong Kong’s status as a first-class world city;

(4) to adopt appropriate policies to encourage universities to concentrate their resources on upgrading their scientific research capability and academic standards, and to assist local universities in inviting first-class academics from outside Hong Kong to conduct exchanges and even engage in teaching in Hong Kong; and

(5) to expeditiously implement the recommendation put forward in the 2011-12 Policy Address on putting up the Queen’s Hill site forqualified sponsoring bodies to apply for establishment of non-profit-making private tertiary institutions; and

(5)(6) by drawing on the experience of advanced countries, to allocate more resources increase the Government’s technological research expenditure on applied research, and improve the Research Grants Council’s existing university research funding allocation mechanism, which is not conducive topromoting innovation and applied technological research, for facilitating research co-operation between the academia and the industries, and to assist universities in obtaining more technological research funding through high technology industrialization to form a value-added ‘technological research ¾ industry chain’, so as to enable Hong Kong tertiary institutions to add value to themselves and facilitate the upgrading and transformation of Hong Kong industries.

Office Of Hon. Charles Mok, Legislative Councillor (IT)