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HKCAA as Predecessor of HKCAAVQ

Pre-HKCAA era

Announced by the Governor in October 1987, it was the Government's intention to create a body whose main function would be to assess and accredit degrees awarded by local non-university institutions. The task of advising the Government fell to the Provisional Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation (PHKCAA) which performed its functions during 1987-1990 before the enactment of the Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation Ordinance (Cap. 1150). In 1990, the PHKCAA completed its task. The Bill to establish the Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation (HKCAA) as a legal entity was introduced into the Legislative Council in February 1990.

HKCAA era

On 8 June 1990, the HKCAA was established under the HKCAA Ordinance (Cap. 1150). The creation of the HKCAA had come at an opportune time as the Government embarked on its plan to increase significantly the provision of degree level places. The main function of the HKCAA was to assess the academic standing of degree courses at our non-university institutions, with the aim of ensuring that the degrees they award would be of a sufficiently high standard to enjoy recognition world-wide. The HKCAA replaced the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) of the United Kingdom, on whose services Hong Kong had relied over the preceding decade. The vision at that time was that the two Polytechnics, the Hong Kong Baptist College, the Open Learning Institute of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts would make use of the services and support to be provided by the HKCAA. Other institutions of higher learning, regardless of whether or not they were supported with public funds, would also have access to the services of the HKCAA subject to the consent of the Governor.

As a locally based statutory body, the HKCAA was best placed to advise, assess and accredit degree courses in Hong Kong. As a professional body that had already established extensive overseas contacts under the PHKCAA, the HKCAA had access to knowledge and expertise needed to safeguard the international standing of Hong Kong's degrees. This was of the utmost importance in ensuring that the expansion of our tertiary education was achieved while upholding quality. The HKCAA initially undertook course-by-course validation of new degree courses and re-validation of existing ones at our non-university institutions. The HKCAA also undertook institutional reviews to determine whether and to what extent certain institutions were capable of sustaining degree programmes.

From HKCAA to HKCAAVQ

Approved by the Executive Council in 2004, the Government established in 2008 the 7-level cross-sectoral Qualifications Framework (QF) to help maintain the overall competitiveness of Hong Kong’s manpower in the global economy. The QF is a hierarchy in relation to qualifications in the academic, vocational and continuing education sectors. To ensure the credibility of qualifications awarded by a wide range of education and training operators under the QF, there was a need to develop a mechanism of academic and vocational accreditation to assure the quality of these qualifications. In view of the HKCAA’s experience in quality assurance and its independent status as a statutory body in Hong Kong, the Government considered that the HKCAA was best placed to take on the role of the Accreditation Authority under the QF. Before taking up the responsibility of assuring the quality of qualifications recognised under the QF, other than those granted by self-accrediting institutions, the HKCAA conducted a self-review in conjunction with an external consultant in 2003 to assess HKCAA’s readiness for the expanded role under the QF. Based on the recommendations arising from the self-review, the HKCAA took steps to reform its operating and financing models, as well as its accreditation approach and procedures.

In 2008, the Government established the Qualifications Register (QR) for entering qualifications recognised under the QF. The QR provides a centralised source of information on the recognised qualifications for reference by the general public including learners, employers, professions, education and training operators, as well as the local and international communities. Since then, HKCAAVQ has been responsible for maintaining the QR in its capacity as the QR Authority.

On 1 October 2007, the HKCAA was renamed as HKCAAVQ under the HKCAAVQ Ordinance (Cap. 1150) to reflect its expanded scope of activities under the QF.

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