The Education Bureau (EDB) has introduced, starting from the 2015/16 cohort, the Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors (SSSDP) to subsidise three cohorts of students to pursue designated self-financing undergraduate programmes, providing diversified and flexible pathways for secondary school graduates.
SSSDP aims to increase the supply of subsidised undergraduate places by leveraging on the supply of the self-financing sector, at the same time to nurture talent in support of specific industries with urgent or keen demand for human resources, and to encourage the self-financing education sector to offer programmes in selected disciplines that meet Hong Kong’s social and economic needs. Further, SSSDP aims to support the healthy and sustainable development pf the self-financing post-secondary education sector to complement the University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded sector in broadening and diversifying study opportunities.
Vocational education prepares people for future employment by equipping them with professional knowledge, practical skills and appropriate attitude. It also plays a pivotal role in integrating education and employment as well as nurturing the requisite human capital in support of Hong Kong’s development. Despite the merits of vocational education, there is an entrenched bias among some towards traditional academic pursuit with the perception of vocational education leading to relatively lower qualifications.
The provision of learning support to students is the key to success in education. In a similar vein, the availability of learning resources plays a crucial role in quality higher education. The library, as an essential component of a post-secondary education institution, is responsible for providing learning resources and maintaining a good study and learning environment for the students.
In 2013, a proposal which aimed at building an e-Library platform and an eBook collection for sharing among five local degree-awarding self-financing institutions was jointly developed by The Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Shue Yan University, Caritas Institute of Higher Education , Tung Wah College and Chu Hai College of Higher Education. The said Project entitled “Collection Sharing and Information Discovery System with Enriched Digital Content” was supported by the Education Bureau and was granted $50.7 million under the Quality Enhancement Support Scheme.
Closer Alignment between Post-secondary Education Institutions and Industries
Apart from acquiring conventional academic knowledge and enhancing whole person development, post-secondary education should also prepare young adults for entering the workforce. A greater collaboration between industries and education leaders in the post-secondary education sector is instrumental so that post-secondary education is relevant and useful in the workplace.
Under the New Academic Structure (NAS) of the Hong Kong education system, general education (GE) has become an essential and important element of the new curricula at the senior secondary and post-secondary levels as GE is identified as a crucial component to enable students to develop these skills. In 2011, the Federation for Self-financing Tertiary Education (FSTE) was granted funding support from the Quality Enhancement Grant Scheme (QEGS) of the Education Bureau (EDB) to examine “Models on Sub-degree General Education Curriculum and Exemplary General Education Courses” and to develop a number of initiatives to enhance quality of GE in the sector.
Launched in 2012, E-APP is a one-stop internet-based online application system developed by the Education Bureau to facilitate the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) Examination candidates to lodge advance applications for locally-accredited post-secondary programmes not covered under the Joint University Programmes Admissions System (JUPAS). E-APP applicants may receive conditional offers from institutions before the announcement of public examination results.