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Chapter 44: Recommendations

This second chapter of Section I contains our formal recommendations. They are divided into three groups addressed respectively to government, to the HEIs and to employers. These recommendations do not stand alone : they need to be seen against the background of our conclusions in Chapter 43 and the analysis of Section H.

To government

  1. Although government may quite propely decide which broad areas of teaching and research it is willing to fund, it should not, now or in the future, apply embargoes based upon value judgments of particular activities.

  2. The element associated with research in the current funding of tertiary institutions should not be reduced and, ideally, should be increased.

  3. There should be a substantial increase in provision for student residences.

  4. Differential student fees at sub-degree and undergraduate level may appropriately be introduced, but the differences should not reflect the costs of provision. There is much more scope for higher levels of cost recovery through fees in taught postgraduate courses. Research students should pay fees at the lowest undergraduate level.

  5. The normal length of an undergraduate course should remain at three years following two years of sixth form study at least for the foreseeable future.

  6. For the triennium 1998-2001, the FYFD intake at the UGC institutions should be 14,500, leading to total undergraduate numbers in 1998-99 of 45,069, in 1999-2000 of 45,058 and in 2000-2001 of 45,050.

  7. For the triennium 1998-2001, total sub-degree numbers in the subvented sector should remain at about the present level and, in particular, the number of places in the UGC institutions should be held at 9,450 fte excluding the HKIEd, which will contribute a further 5,200 fte.

  8. For the triennium 1998-2001, the number of subsidised taught postgraduate places should rise to 5,600 fte by 2000-01, including the HKIEd.

  9. For the triennium 1998-2001, research student numbers should remain at 3,595 fte.

  10. In order to promote Hong Kong as a regional centre for higher education, institutions should be permitted to recruit up to 4% of their undergraduate and taught postgraduate numbers as non-Hong Kong students paying standard fees, 2% within target and 2% outside. Similarly, institutions should be permitted to recruit up to one-third of research postgraduates, within targets, as non-Hong Kong students paying standard fees.

To HEIs

  1. Teachers in the tertiary institutions, should, in collaboration with their colleagues in the schools, set up a permanent forum in which problems at the interface of the two sectors can be discussed and resolved.

  2. HEIs should not recruit weak students in order to fill places. The UGC will not penalise institutions which leave a modest number of places empty to maintain quality.

  3. HEIs should refuse to admit students who fail to satisfy their published language requirements.

  4. Remedial and enhancement language courses in HEIs should be extended, including substantial use of vacation time.

  5. Students' language competence should be tested at intervals. Inadequate performance should be a bar to progression. Students' language competence should be recorded on their academic certificates.

  6. The particular strengths displayed by the individual UGC institutions, and which are described in their agreed statements of role, should be maintained during the coming decade, but the development of areas of excellence will require resource redistribution and the cessation of weaker activities.

  7. Inter-institutional collaboration in teaching, research and planning should be encouraged. Not only does it offer opportunity for the better deployment of expensive resources but, at least in some areas, may provide the "critical mass" necessary for the highest levels of academic achievement, which may not be available in any individual institution.

  8. HEIs should have in place programmes of maintenance and replacement to ensure that their physical plant and human resources remain in good order and appropriate to changing needs.

  9. HEIs should know, with reasonable accuracy, the hidden subsidy involved with most courses charging so-called "full cost" fees, and be prepared to justify it.

  10. Institutions should as far as possible support the infrastructure or "core staff" of units engaged in CPE from sources other than the block grant.

  11. The costs of all established CPE courses which may contribute to professional or employment enhancement should be recovered in full by fees, but HEIs may help with the launching costs of those courses which it is in the public interest to establish.

  12. Courses given by CPE units which lead to an initial higher education qualification or whose primary purpose is social benefit may be subsidised from block grant.

To employers

  1. Employers, including those in the public sector, should collaborate with HEIs to ensure that there is an adequate number of training places available for students in those disciplines which require them.

  2. Employers should make more use of HEIs for collaborative R & D and the upgrading of their own technology.

  3. Employers should be willing themselves to serve on advisory committees for higher education courses, or give appropriate employees time to do so.



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