This report by the University Grants Committee was originally commissioned by Government in 1989, with a request that the success of the then proposed expansion of first year, first degree places should be reviewed in 1993-94 and a view taken as to whether further expansion was desirable or practicable. The Committee submitted an interim report to Government in May 1993. That interim report was considered by Executive Council and as a consequence a revised version was published in March 1994 (reproduced as Annex A). The revised interim report was discussed quite widely within the community and resulted in a number of consultative meetings between the UGC and groups representing a range of interests from education, industry and commerce.

After further consideration of the revised interim report, Government broadened the scope of the review by asking the Committee to study the whole of higher education in Hong Kong; not merely the work of the institutions funded through the UGC, but also that of other subvented colleges and institutes, that provided through charitable bodies and that undertaken by the private sector. The task has been gargantuan, and we could not have accomplished it without the willing help of very many individuals from educational establishments and bodies in Hong Kong, in China and elsewhere. They are far too numerous to list, but we are deeply grateful to all of them.

Our interim report, which we believed would mainly be read by civil servants and those directly concerned with higher education, was written in a terse style with many of the underlying assumptions unexplained since it was assumed that the reader would be familiar with them. This final report is more discursive and explanatory, for the benefit of a lay readership. Partly for that reason, but more because of the much increased coverage, the report is long. For ease of reading we have tried to break it down into short, palatable chapters, each covering a limited theme. Cognate chapters are grouped into more major sections and those sections into three main parts.

The first part provides background and completes the survey of recent structural change and expansion which we began in our interim report. The second is the Review proper and it contains both a description of the current situation and suggestions as to future development. The third and final part of our report provides what we believe are the main outcomes from our study, our conclusions and our recommendations.

The report is preceded by an executive summary.

All numbers quoted in the report refer to the academic year 1994-95, unless stated otherwise.

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