The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) signed an agreement today to allow the pursuit of dual career paths in sports and academics for elite athletes in Hong Kong.
The arrangement will allow HKSI to nominate full-time elite athletes for admission to undergraduate programmes at HKUST. The university will offer a flexible academic approach for these students, including study-load balancing, rescheduling exams, and adjusting class attendance requirements on a case-by-case basis. In addition, the athlete’s period of study may be extended to a maximum of twice the normal duration for the programme they’ve chosen, to better accommodate their intensive training and competition schedule.
The nominated athletes can also benefit from the Student Athletes Admission Scheme (SAAS) launched recently by HKUST, under which successful applicants may receive tuition scholarships and living allowances of up to HK$42,100 and HK$55,000 per year respectively. The school also offers sponsorship for sports competitions, sports injury prevention, treatment training, and sports counselling services.
“The [agreement] solidifies the concept of dual career potential and empowers elite athletes to pursue their sporting dreams while continuing university studies,” said Dr Trisha Leahy, Chief Executive of HKSI.
HKUST Acting Provost Professor Pong Ting-Chuen added that: “The collaboration will not only facilitate young athletes in their dual career development, but will also foster sporting culture and diversity in the university community.”
Edith Lee, a Year Three Computer Science and Engineering student and archer who’s currently on her leave from studies, said the gap year arrangement gave her the freedom and confidence to pursue her sporting dream.
Meanwhile, her fellow schoolmate Rachel Wong, who is a gymnast and a Year Four Biological Science student, said the admission arrangement and conditional offer could help secondary school student athletes ease some of the stress of preparing for public exams, allowing them to devote more time to training and competitions.