Hong Kong’s new education minister said the government would review the ailing role of associate degrees, and did not deny the possibility of scrapping these programmes.
Kevin Yeung Yun-hung’s suggestions came as chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor promised an extra HK$5 billion for education.
Lam plans to use part of the new funding for programmes that need to be implemented in the coming school year starting in September.
However, the subsidy would not go to students in associate degree programmes – post-secondary school courses which target specific fields of study.
“The role of associate degrees is now very unclear. They were positioned at a level between secondary school and university bachelor’s degree, but now, many use the courses as a stepping stone to bachelor’s degree programmes,” Yeung said. He said the government has to “review the value of these courses before subsidising them”.
Ng Po-shing, director of Hok Yau Club Student Guidance Centre, told Young Post last Friday that many students were worried about the recognition of associate degrees. “Many employers looked down on these courses when comparing them to bachelor’s degrees. The government should clarify the role of these programmes,” he said.
Under the new grant, a HK$30,000 subsidy will be offered to students in self-financing tertiary institutions who are currently ineligible for official aid. Students who achieve at least Level 3 in Chinese and English, and at least Level 2 in maths and liberal studies in their HKDSE exam, will be eligible.