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UGC finalised arrangements for Competitive Allocation of undergraduate places

The University Grants Committee (UGC) convened a special meeting on November 9 to discuss the Competitive Allocation mechanism to be adopted in the forthcoming 2012-15 Academic Development Proposals exercise, and to address institutions' concerns about some of the details of the scheme.

The UGC Chairman, Mrs Laura M Cha, announced the decisions of the Committee and said: "We are pleased that institutions agree with us in principle on the merits of enhancing competitiveness in the allocation of scarce resources; and specifically the strategic benefit of the Competitive Allocation mechanism to institutional academic planning, and the development of the sector as a whole. The UGC meeting strongly reaffirmed our belief that such strategic planning and thinking are vital for a vibrant UGC-funded sector, and therefore decided to retain the Competitive Allocation element in part of the allocation of first-year-first-degree (FYFD) places, which was first implemented for the 2009-12 triennium."

Mrs Cha said, "Having listened carefully to the differing views and concerns of institutions, the UGC decided that we could make some changes in the scheme to accommodate the concerns, while still maintaining the benefits. We have therefore decided that 6% of FYFD places in each institution for the 2012-15 triennium should be set aside for competitive allocation. The 6% will not apply to places in disciplines under Government manpower planning."

"In addition, given that Lingnan University is slimming currently and will 'stay small' in 2012-15, the corresponding percentage to be applied will be 4%. We are now taking forward all the details with institutions so that they can draw up and submit their Academic Development Proposals (ADPs) for the 2012-15 triennium in February next year."

Mrs Cha stressed, "I would like to say again that the UGC is not taking away any student places or funding from the entire sector through this exercise. The exercise is to encourage institutions to think strategically about their future academic priorities and drive innovation and performance. This is not to push institutions artificially to develop 'eye-catching' new programmes. Neither are we imposing any decisions on the institutions to terminate any particular disciplines. The UGC firmly believes that we can achieve this with the concerted effort from all our institutions."

"A dedicated UGC panel comprising overseas academics and local lay UGC members will review holistically the ADP of each institution, and make recommendations on how best to re-allocate the FYFD places set aside under Competitive Allocation. We have already agreed with institutions the broad criteria the panel will use in evaluating their ADPs," she added.

ENDS/November 12, 2010