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This page is updated on 2006-07-27 12:04
Christian Service News

Issue 52 (June 2006)

Opinion Feedback

Post-Secondary Students
Face Articulation Problem
and financial Difficulties

In the recently released Review Report of Post-Secondary Education Sector, the participation rate in post-secondary education is 66%, surpassing the 60% target set by the government in 2000 to be met in the year 2010.

In view of this progress, the government recommended that self-financing programs should continue to play a key role in driving and sustaining the development of this sector. Moreover, it was recommended that the government should continue to promote both Higher Diploma (HD) and Associate Degree (AD) as alternative progression pathways leading to qualifications at comparable academic level, and that more emphasis should now be put on consolidation of the sub-degree sector, development of articulation pathways, and quality enhancement at all levels.

Beneath this apparent "success" in the development of post-secondary education sector in recent years, however, lie two basic problems that cause anxiety among the sub-degree program students, in particular AD students : articulation and financial burden.

As all of the AD programs are self-financed, students have to pay for their own tuition fee, which is higher than the University Grant Committee (UGC) funded programs. It is common that AD students have to do several part-time jobs to support themselves, as their families may not be able to do so.

Another frustration students face when they graduate from the AD program is the limited articulation places (in particular those UGC-funded ones) provided for them. This becomes a double jeopardy. On one hand, their AD status do not privilege them over other applicants when they apply for a job, as this education attainment is not readily accepted by employers. On the other hand, as they only have a slim chance to enroll for an UGC-funded degree program, the only alternative is to apply for self-financed top-up degree programs, which adds further financial burden on them.

The government should take up the responsibility to provide sufficient articulation places for AD graduates with the tuition fee at an affordable level. Otherwise, the development of the post-secondary education sector will only create a "Diverted Dream" for students, one that is seemingly progressive but in reality a dead-end.

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