Chapter 14: Staff and Students

14.1 As we noted in paragraph 6.9, higher education is an important employer in Hong Kong, with a total full-time workforce of some 17,000 of whom about 5,000 are teaching or research staff in the UGC institutions. In 1994-95, about 30% of the academic staff were "home grown" in the sense of having received their own higher education in Hong Kong. Within the UGC institutions, 20% of the teaching and research staff have first degrees from universities in the United Kingdom, 15% from universities in the United States, and 5% each from universities in China, Taiwan and Canada. Partly because of rapid expansion, there are many relatively junior staff. Only 22% of the academic staff are in senior grades (professor, reader and senior lecturer). The age distribution of the staff is shown in Figure 14.1; 22% of them are female. Of staff in senior grades, about 10% are female.

Figure 14.1 Age Distribution of Academic Staff
in the UGC-funded Institutions (as at 31.12)

Figure 14.1

Source : UGC Secretariat

14.2 The pay of academic staff is linked to that of the civil service, which is in turn linked to the private sector through pay trend surveys. In 1995-96 the average monthly salary for a non-clinical professor was HK$103,815 and for a lecturer was HK$50,570. The cost of teaching and research staff is the major component in the expenditure of any HEI. In the UGC institutions in Hong Kong, about one-half of total recurrent expenditure can be attributed to academic staff pay. We shall be returning to more detailed consideration of costs in Section G.

14.3 We have already considered, in Chapters 10 to 13, the distribution of the 130,000 or so students in higher education between the various levels and the various subjects of study. Most of the students in full-time higher education come from the 18-25 year old age group, whereas those studying part-time, particularly on "second chance" or CPE courses, are usually older. For example the median age group for OLI students is 31-35. The male/female balance in full-time higher education is about 50/50, but there is considerable disparity between subject areas. Table 14.1 shows the percentage of female students by subject area and level in the UGC institutions.

Table 14.1 Percentage of Female Students (headcount)
in UGC institutions (1994-95)

Level SD UG TPg RPg All
Medicine & Dentistry 55 43 35 38 43
Science 32 37 34 23 35
Engineering 20 16 41 14 17
Business & Management 69 61 38 30 62
Social Science & Humanities 75 75 53 44 73
Total 47 49 48 28 48

Source : UGC Secretariat

In the VTC Technical Colleges, 28% of the students are female. In the APA the proportion is 62%. In part-time higher education there is a preponderance of males : the OLI student body divides 55% male to 45% female. In CPE, however, females form the majority (see Table 23.2). There is not a great deal of evidence on the social background of students in higher education, but it is known that the proportion of undergraduates living in public housing is similar to that for the population as a whole, so that catchment is fairly widespread. Limitations on opportunity may well lie within the school system and home rather than higher education itself.

14.4 One aspect of student life which has exercised the institutions and the UGC in recent years is the paucity of accommodation on campus. Only one student in five can hope to find hostel accommodation, and the remainder suffer various deprivations including lack of opportunity to participate in extra-curricular activity, poor studying conditions at home and long travelling times. The problem is particularly acute for research students who often work late hours.

14.5 Government has itself made a number of studies of student accommodation, including one in 1973 under the chairmanship of Sir Oswald Cheung and another in 1982. Current policy, which is based on Sir Oswald's study, is that provision for residences will be made for the following proportions of full time students:

CUHK, HKIEd and LC 50%
HKU 25%
CityU, HKBU and PolyU Nil

  These figures may be supplemented by non-government provision.

14.6 In 1993, the UGC set up an internal working group to study space and accommodation in its institutions, with the assistance of the Government's Director of Architectural Services. The group produced a first stage report in 1994, including a section on student hostels. Its study concluded that travelling times were long (over two hours per day) for many students, and that many students had poor home study conditions.

Table 14.2 Percentage of Students travelling
more than two hours per day

32% 32% 66% 32% 55% 76% n.a.#

According to statistics provided by the UGC institutions, only 30% of first year undergraduates had their own desks in their own private rooms.

14.7 The UGC has subsequently (March, 1996) recommended to government, as a long term objective, an increase in hostel places of 21,200. Existing places in December 1995 totalled 8,600, with 4,100 more approved or under construction* . The whole number of hostel places is divided between the needs listed in Table 14.3

Table 14.3 Needs for Hostel Places

First-year-first-degree intake or undergraduate students with travelling times of 2 hours or more daily whichever is the higher 70%
Taught post-graduate students with travelling times of 2 hours or more daily 3%
Sub-degree students with travelling times of 2 hours or more daily 7%
Research post-graduate students 10%
Non-local undergraduate and taught post-graduate students 3%
100% provision for Lingnan College stduents 7%
Total provision of hostel places recommended 100%

  More detail about existing provision and the financial consequences of expansion are given in the following chapter.

# At the time of the study, LC was expected to be 100% residential
* HKIED was not then a UGC Institution

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