HKPTU News Reporter
The number of HKDSE candidates has been steadily dropping. Coupled with the increasing number of students who pursue their studies abroad caused by political instability, the admission rate of many self-financing institutions dropped this year. Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union (HKPTU) President Fung Wai-wah said self-financing courses have been inflating in the past decade due to a lack of vision in the government’s development plans on self-financing sector. In the face of the decreasing number of students, the supply of self-financing courses far exceeds its demand. Rumour has it there is a department which has not admitted any students at all. He urges the government to draw up and announce a plan to prevent institutions from shutting down and protect students and teachers’ benefits.
Self-Financing Degrees’ Supply Exceeds Demand
The number of students in tertiary education has been rapidly decreasing. The number of HKDSE candidates dropped from 71,222 in 2013 to 52,416 in 2020. According to the 2020 statistics, the number of HKDSE candidates who qualified for bachelor’s degree – who score at least 3 for two core objects and 2 for another two, as well as another 2 for an elective subject – was 18,928. According to the estimate for the academic year 2021/22, in addition to the 15,000-18,000 places offered by University Grants Committee (UGC)-subsidised universities, there are 3,306 places in the Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sector and 3,358 self-financing places independent from subsidies. In other words, there will be as many as 21,664 bachelor degree places. Even eliminating the possibility of students pursuing their studies abroad, there will be a surplus of at least 2000 to 3000 places.
According to the statistics the media obtained from the Education Bureau, the admission rate of many self-financing institutions has been decreasing. In the worst case, the admission rate is as low as ten per cent, where one of the departments is said to have admitted no students at all. Fung said the worrisome situation is the result of a lack of planning on the government’s part. ‘The government used to exceedingly encouraging self-financing education without planning, causing an inflation in self-financing education and vicious competition. In the face of the dwindling number of students, the government must react in a timely manner and draw up a plan to protect the rights and benefits of both teachers and students in these self-financing institutions.’ He worries some institutions would be left no options but to shut down, causing termination of studies and unemployment.