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The UGC's Press Statement regarding the Dismissal Procedure of the UGC-funded Institutions

Responding to media coverage on the dismissal procedures of the UGC-funded institutions and on the balance between research and teaching (and learning) in the institutions' activities, a UGC spokesman made the following statement today (April 1, 1999) :

    "The UGC respects the autonomy of tertiary institutions, being statutory bodies, in managing their internal affairs including academic and staffing matters. All of the eight UGC-funded institutions have their own regulations governing appointments, promotions, dismissals and other personnel matters, as well as related appeals procedures. These procedures are clearly set out in staff handbooks/administrative circulars, etc. which are published and accessible by all their staff. Staffing matters may also be considered by the relevant committees of the institutions' governing councils, which include members who are not staff of the institutions.

    It is for the governing councils of the institutions to review and revise, where appropriate, the existing mechanisms to ensure/enhance transparency, fairness and reasonableness. These governing councils are all established under the relevant ordinances of the respective institutions.

    Since the eight UGC-funded institutions were established and developed at different times and have different histories and backgrounds, their mechanisms for handling staff matters, while comparable, are not necessarily identical. The ordinances ensure a balanced composition of Council membership comprising e.g. elected staff representatives, students representatives, university management, lay members from the academic, business and professional fields who have a proven track record of public service. Given the presence of the governing councils, as statutory and representative bodies, to handle these matters, it is neither appropriate nor necessary to set up another statutory body for this purpose.

    Teaching and learning remain the primary mission of higher education institutions in Hong Kong as elsewhere. The balance between research and teaching is however perceived to have changed following increased emphasis on performance in research in recent years. While the UGC is convinced that it is desirable and proper to encourage the development of a research culture in the UGC-funded institutions, it certainly does not think that research should be more important than teaching. In fact, the UGC has made it clear that research and scholarship, widely defined, should be regarded as a valuable adjuncts to teaching, not as a substitute for it. The UGC has set up mechanisms to encourage the maintenance and enhancement of high standards of teaching and learning. Examples are the allocation of Teaching Development Grants and Language Enhancement Grants as well as the conduct of the Teaching and Learning Quality Process Reviews."

UGC Secretariat
Thursday, April 1, 1999