HKBU students must take security course

Top News | Carine Chow 27 Jul 2021

Baptist University students will have to complete a national security course to graduate starting in September, says its president.

"We are making it into a compulsory part and students cannot choose because it is an important topic for students to understand," Alexander Wai Ping-kong said yesterday.

National security education will be included in the school's cocurricular learning, covering topics such as internet security, public health and environmental safety.

Cocurricular learning is one of the graduation criteria, with all undergraduates required to finish eight courses from a series of talks and workshops.

While it is noncredit, Wai said there will be graded assessment.

HKBU has no plans to extend the requirement to postgraduate students.

Details of the national security education programs will be announced in September or October, after discussion and approval of the senates.

Baptist has also become the sixth university to stop collecting membership fees for its student union following similar action by the University of Hong Kong, Chinese University, City University, Polytechnic University and Lingnan University.

Wai said the decision was made after a discussion with the representatives of the student union.

But he said the university is not distancing itself from its student body and has no plans to withdraw the right to borrow venues from its student union.

In response, HKBU's student union editorial board said on its Facebook page it was not consulted by the university regarding the collection of membership fees.

It added it does not agree with the decision. Wai denied that the decision was politically motivated, adding he had always disagreed with bundling student union fees together with tuition fees since he was a student.

"I have been against this practice ever since I was a college student," he said.

"So it has nothing to do with what is happening now."

Wai added: "It is not right. If you are an independent organization, as you claimed when I was young, you should take care of all your businesses, including collecting your own fees and doing promotions."

Wai said the student union's executive committee should take this opportunity to better understand the needs of its members and rethink whether its actions are supported by most students.

"The prime objective of a students' union is to seek benefits for its members," he said.

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