Competitive Allocation Brings Destructive Competition Among Institutions

PTU News Reporter

The University Grants Committee (UGC) introduced the Competitive Allocation mechanism since the academic year of 2009/ 10. Under the mechanism, each tertiary institution funded by UGC is required to reserve 4% to 6% of its first-year first-degree places per every triennium for reallocation among the various institutions by UGC. This mechanism has been criticized as being “non-transparent” and the humanities subject, natural science and social science would likely be under great pressure of being marginalized. In January 2016 the Bureau announced the number of first-year first-degree places during the 2016/17 to 2018/19 triennium and some places of the institutions have been taken away again. Fung Wai-wah, our President, criticized that this mechanism has led to an unnecessary and destructive competition among institutions and departments which should be reviewed as earliest as possible.

Note: The Hong Kong Institute of Education is not under the mechanism of competitive allocation. However 39 places of programs of primary education have been taken away for reallocation to other institutions.

Negative Growth of the Number of Places

Under the mechanism, all 22 places of Lingnan University and nearly 80% of the places set aside for reallocation by Hong Kong Baptist University have been taken away respectively, which is making the situation very upsetting. We are so concerned whether this will impose very negative impact for the development of the Institutions.

Comparing the data with that of 2009, we found that in this year the growth of the number of school places of Baptist University, City University and Lingnan University has become negative, and 10, 67 and 106 places have been taken away respectively. Those Institutions where their places have been taken away have to make a difficult decision that the places of which faculties/departments need to be reduced, and this would inevitably trigger off a destructive competition. The development of the Institutions will likely be more market-driven which would tend to marginalize the subjects of humanities, natural science and social science. Fung therefore stresses that UGC should scrap this mechanism immediately and put this policy under a thorough review.