2011/12 was a busy and productive year for the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications (HKCAAVQ). Driven by the rapid expansion of the self-financing education sector under the New Academic Structure, the HKCAAVQ experienced a significant increase in the number of accreditation and assessment exercises conducted in the past year.


As the HKCAAVQ continues to expand its portfolio of quality assurance work for education and training providers, we also attach great importance to engaging stakeholders to gather their views and insights to improve the functions of the HKCAAVQ. The concerted efforts of the Council and its stakeholders are reflected in the detailed account of our activities contained in this report.

 


Reaching New Horizons


Higher education in Hong Kong is reaching out toward new horizons. In 2012, there are two cohorts of matriculants, i.e. Form 7 students taking Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE) and Senior Secondary 3 students taking Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) examination, totalling about 100,000 students competing to enter the post-secondary education institutions. To meet the increasing needs in the double cohort year and beyond, new private post-secondary institutions are being established. We also see an increase in programmes in the existing self-financing sub-degree sector as well as the vocational education and training market.


In 2011/12, the HKCAAVQ accredited over 180 programmes in a wide spectrum ranging from local and transnational education programmes to in-house training and skills development – involving qualifications spanning from certificate to bachelor degree level. We also assessed over 3,000 qualifications, 1,500 Continuing Education Fund courses and 120 Continuing Professional Development programmes.

 


Enhancing Services


While our workload has increased, it did not deter us from our commitment to high standard through continuous review and improvement of our internal processes. Last year, the HKCAAVQ launched a new template for Programme Revalidation to assist operators to prepare accreditation submissions, and developed a guide to provide operators of Higher Diploma and Associate Degree programmes with basic and essential information required for Programme Validation. These measures helped speed up the process and enhance operators’ understanding of the relevant standards and requirements.


To promote the quality culture, we organised over 40 capacity building activities such as training workshops, seminars and briefings to prepare our specialists, panel members, institutional partners and programme providers in the vocational sector for accreditation exercises. Through these events we also shared with stakeholders the latest developments of our services as well as the findings and follow-up actions from the Operators’ Survey that we conduct annually for collecting feedback from our service users.

 


Fostering Relations


The HKCAAVQ's role is both the gate-keeper and the gate-opener in education quality assurance in Hong Kong. The success of our work depends on the support and cooperation of our quality assurance partners. Last year, we continued to engage the community proactively through various liaison activities. We also reached out to the education providers and potential operators in the vocational sector such as the Retail, Property Management and Chinese Catering industries through various events, partnership, workshops and briefings.


Over the past year, we maintained close relations with quality assurance agencies worldwide through participation in international conferences and receiving delegations. We also visited the offices of the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC) and the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition of Australian Education International (AEI-NOOSR) to share knowledge and practice; and received an assessor from the Council for Private Education (CPE), Singapore, for a short-term placement at the HKCAAVQ. As transnational education continues to grow, these global networks and partnerships keep us informed and help us better carry out our mission to safeguard quality and reinforce Hong Kong's position as a regional education hub.

 


Planning for the Future


The education environment in Hong Kong and the rest of the world is changing fast. To maintain a robust quality assurance system, the HKCAAVQ has embarked on a review of our Four-Stage Quality Assurance Process to evaluate its effectiveness and to study whether this model needs to be modified to better meet stakeholder expectations. We are now in the course of data analysis and process development, and the consultation on a revised model is expected to take place in the last quarter of 2012. This summer, we will move our office to larger premises in Siu Sai Wan. We believe this new office will accommodate our growth and allow us to achieve better levels of service.


The HKCAAVQ developed its first three-year strategic plan in 2009. The time has come for us to take stock of what we have achieved and set our future direction in the next three-year strategic plan for 2013-2016. The strategic plan will be our roadmap for the journey of continuous improvement, sustainable development and advancement to new horizons and beyond.

 

 

 

Prof Yiu-Kwan FAN, BBS, JP
Executive Director