Private college misses out as student intakes slide

Local | Joey Hung 2 Jun 2016

No Year One student was admitted to the private Hong Kong College of Technology Institute of Higher Education in Ma On Shan this school year, says the Education Bureau.

The post-secondary institution, which had targeted an intake of 25, was the worst affected among 19 self-financing institutions which saw 80 percent of them providing bachelor's degrees drawing fewer freshmen than they had estimated.

Only four institutions among the 19 reach their targets Baptist University School of Continuing Education (126 students), Hong Kong Shue Yan University (1,337), the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (48) and the Open University of Hong Kong (1,860).

Seven could not even reach 50 percent of the estimated intakes.

Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union vice president Cheung Yui-fai said the situation may be due to high tuition fees of at least HK$50,000 a year, which creates a great burden for students, and the recognition of the qualifications.

He also said that some of the institutions do not have a long history in Hong Kong, which may also affect their admission rate.

Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim told the Legislative Council meeting in a written reply yesterday that the number of Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education graduates in the 2016-17 academic year will be 52,100. This will decline to 43,500 in 2020-21.

Lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen said the admission rate is highly related to the number of HKDSE graduates in Hong Kong.

"It is possible that the schools overestimated their student intake; however, they could not attract students," he said.

The four institutions which have full intakes are among the University Grants Committee- funded universities, Ip said.

"They have an advantage as people feel confident of the universities," Ip said.

He said that the situation of underenrollment will continue in the future and may lead to closure of some of these self-financing schools.

To solve the problem, Ip suggested the government provide subsidies for students in the self-financing post-secondary institutions.

Even students who continue college in the mainland are being subsidized, he added.

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