Pro­gram to pay HK stu­dents to study on main­land

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By TI­MOTHY CHUI tim@chi­nadai­

Stu­dents from Hong Kong who are ad­mit­ted to main­land higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions will be el­i­gi­ble for sub­si­dies of up to HK$15,000 ($1,935) in the spe­cial ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gion’s first of­fi­cial ini­tia­tive of its kind.

The ini­tial three-year phase of the HK$113 mil­lion Main­land Univer­sity Study Sub­sidy Plan will help stu­dents who pass a means test.

The plan is one of Hong Kong Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Le­ung Chun-ying’s 2014 pol­icy pledges — to pro­vide “broader and more di­ver­si­fied fur­ther study op­tions” out­side the city.

Ad­mis­sion to the pro­gram will ex­empt stu­dents from hav­ing to take the Joint En­trance Ex­am­i­na­tion for Uni­ver­si­ties on the main­land, leav­ing them free to fo­cus ex­clu­sively on the Hong Kong Diploma of Se­condary Ed­u­ca­tion Ex­am­i­na­tion.

“The pro­gram will en­cour­age more Hong Kong stu­dents to study on the main­land, es­pe­cially those who wish to at­tend pres­ti­gious uni­ver­si­ties,” said Sunny Lo of the Hong Kong In­sti­tute of Ed­u­ca­tion.

“This will also broaden stu­dents’ op­tions and hori­zons, al­low­ing them to un­der­stand the coun­try in a much deeper and more com­pre­hen­sive man­ner.”

A spokesman for Hong Kong’s Ed­u­ca­tion Bureau said: “The ad­mis­sion cri­te­ria and list of par­tic­i­pat­ing in­sti­tu­tions have been for­mu­lated with a view to safe­guard­ing the qual­ity and in­ter­ests of stu­dents.”

Main­land univer­sity tuition fees range from 4,000 yuan ($648) to 10,000 yuan per year, while hos­tel fees are pegged at roughly 1,200 yuan, ac­cord­ing to the bureau.

“The pro­gram is de­signed to en­sure that no stu­dent is de­prived of study op­por­tu­ni­ties on the main­land due to a lack of fi­nan­cial means,” the spokesman said.

Roughly 1,000 stu­dents are ex­pected to ben­e­fit in the first two years and another 800 in the third year. The pro­gram will then be re­viewed by the govern­ment.

The size of the sub­sidy pales by com­par­i­son with other fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance pro­grams of­fered to stu­dents who re­main in the city.

“It will per­haps take some time for Hong Kong com­pa­nies to hire more grad­u­ates who ob­tain their de­grees on the main­land, but this change is nec­es­sary if they wish to tar­get main­land mar­kets,” said Lo.

“Over time, Hong Kong stu­dents with main­land de­grees will be­come in­creas­ingly mar­ketable”.

The bureau spokesman added: “Many Hong Kong stu­dents grad­u­at­ing from main­land uni­ver­si­ties have re­turned to work in Hong Kong af­ter grad­u­a­tion. Many have se­cured em­ploy­ment or pro­fes­sional recog­ni­tion in Hong Kong. With the vi­brant econ­omy on the main­land, there is an in­creas­ing de­mand for tal­ent with a good un­der­stand­ing of the sys­tem and cul­ture there, and a strong net­work.

“Hong Kong grad­u­ates of main­land uni­ver­si­ties will be highly com­pet­i­tive in the em­ploy­ment mar­ket.”

Ap­pli­ca­tions can be made through the ed­u­ca­tion bureau’s web­site and must be sub­mit­ted by Aug 29. Suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cants will be no­ti­fied by De­cem­ber.

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