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UGC to have a Special Meeting to Address Institutions' Concerns on Competitive Allocation

Chairman of the University Grants Committee (UGC), The Hon Mrs Laura M Cha, has visited the eight UGC-funded institutions in the last two months to listen personally and directly to the views and concerns of Deans of Faculties and Heads of Academic Departments on the upcoming work of the UGC. There were three common themes discussed: research funding and the work of Research Grants Council, institutional autonomy, and the upcoming competitive allocation of first-year- first-degree (FYFD) places. Concluding her series of meetings with the academic leaders, Mrs Cha today (November 4) said:

"I am pleased to have the opportunity to have a face-to-face dialogue with the senior academics of our institutions, i.e. the Deans and Heads of Departments, to listen directly and respond as far as possible to their views."

"A recurring topic in our exchanges was the proposed competitive allocation mechanism in the forthcoming 2012-15 Academic Development Proposals exercise. The Deans and Department Heads generally agree with the strategic merit of enhancing competitiveness in the allocation of scarce resources, and shared the rationale behind such mechanism of advancing the international competitiveness of individual institutions, and that of the higher education sector as a whole. But they do have some concerns over the details of the mechanism, such as the percentage of places involved. I personally feel that there is room for considering a reduction in the proposed percentage of student places involved in the competitive allocation mechanism."

"As I have explained to the Deans and Department Heads, the UGC is not taking away any student places or funding from the sector. Neither are we imposing any decisions on the institutions to terminate any particular disciplines. The exercise is to encourage institutions to think critically about their future academic priorities and drive innovation and performance, which is also for the good of the strategic development of the higher education sector,", Mrs Cha stressed. "I will convene a special meeting of the UGC shortly to explore how our intended arrangements can be moderated to address institutions' concerns, before we finalise all working details for the issue of the Start Letters later in the month," the Chairman said.


To encourage each of the institutions to think through strategically its whole institutional endeavour and to prioritise its academic pursuit, the UGC introduced a "competitive allocation" mechanism in the previous round of academic development planning for the 2009/10 to 2011/12 triennium. The UGC has decided to continue implementing such mechanism to inform its recommendations on the distribution of a small percentage of first-year-first-degree (FYFD) places for the 2012/13 to 2014/15 triennium.

The UGC issues a "Start Letter" to all eight UGC-funded institutions at the beginning of each academic planning cycle, to set out various policy and funding objectives, and the Government's broad planning parameters (including manpower requirements on specific disciplines) for the next triennium.

ENDS/November 4, 2010