The HKCAAVQ offers an extensive range of academic accreditation
services. The academic accreditation service covers programmes
offered by post-secondary institutions at postgraduate, degree and
sub-degree levels. Accreditation service is also provided for non-local
programmes (NLP) that are registered or exempted from registration
under the Non-local Higher and Professional Courses (Regulation)
Ordinance (Cap 493) and Institutional Review (IR) exercises are
conducted for institutions seeking registration under the Post
Secondary Colleges Ordinance (Cap 320) for degree-awarding status.
Following the implementation of the Secretariat’s new organisation
structure from July 2012, the assessment of the Continuing
Education Fund (CEF) reimbursable courses and non-local courses
for registration under Cap 493 has been brought together in the
new Academic Accreditation and Audit functional area with an aim
to capture the synergy between the academic accreditation and
Local Programme Accreditation
In 2012/13, the demand for academic accreditation remained
high. During the reporting period, the HKCAAVQ conducted two
IR exercises for institutions seeking registration under Cap 320
for degree-awarding status. Apart from the IR exercises, we also
conducted Programme Validation for a total of 22 programmes and Revalidation for four programmes, with the participation of
10 operators. Requests from eight operators were processed for
substantial changes to 25 programmes.
While the traditional programmes like Business Administration,
Languages, Tourism, Hospitality, Health Care and Engineering
remained popular, we also conducted accreditations for emerging
programme areas such as Landscape Architecture and Chinese
Catering at Qualifications Framework (QF) Level 5.
The HKCAAVQ provides accreditation service for NLPs registered
or exempted under Cap 493 leading to non-local awards offered
in Hong Kong. An NLP accredited by the HKCAAVQ enjoys similar
status to locally-accredited programmes, and its qualification can be
recognised under the QF and placed on the Qualifications Register (QR).
Over the past year, the HKCAAVQ accredited 27 NLPs in diverse
disciplines such as Business, Tourism, Hospitality, Accountancy
and Finance, Visual Communication and Fine Arts, involving the
participation of nine local operators and 11 overseas partners from
Australia and the United Kingdom.
To evaluate the effectiveness and
identify aspects for improvement in
our NLP accreditation model, the
HKCAAVQ engaged an overseas
specialist to conduct a comprehensive
review of NLP accreditation. Two
focus group meetings were organised
in December 2012 to share with
operators the issues identified in the
review and the proposed actions.
Following the feedback received in
the focus group meetings, the NLP
guidelines were revised and associated
tools were developed to streamline the
NLP accreditation process.
Breakdown of Academic Programmes Validated or Revalidated (1 April 2012 - 31 March 2013)
Refinement of Accreditation Service
Apart from the NLP accreditation review, the HKCAAVQ also
embarked on a number of initiatives in the year under review with an
aim to enhance its accreditation service.
For the purpose of increased transparency in the quality assurance
process, the HKCAAVQ has decided to publish accreditation
reports by phases. In the first year, the HKCAAVQ will publish on
its website the summary reports, which are direct extracts from the
full accreditation reports. Consultation sessions were organised to
explain to operators the related arrangements and gather valuable
input from them.
Following requests from operators for greater clarity, the HKCAAVQ
conducted a review of both local and international practices on what
constitutes a substantial change to accreditation status. The review
was conducted through telephone interviews and a focus group
meeting held in March 2013, in which operators shared their internal
policies and practices in handling changes to accreditation status.
Operators were informed about proposed revisions to the guidelines
and the associated tools for the purpose of better defining the scope
of substantial change and enhancing the efficiency of assessing
Last year, we participated in two briefing sessions on the Award
Titles Scheme (ATS) and Use of Credit under QF introduced by
the Education Bureau to help operators better understand the
implementation timetable of the two new initiatives and arrangements
during the transitional period. We also spoke at two associated
training workshops to introduce the key concepts and processes for
assessing QF credits at institutional and programme levels.
Assessment of Non-local Courses
The HKCAAVQ is appointed by the Registrar of Non-local Higher and
Professional Education Courses to provide professional advice as
to whether a particular course delivered in Hong Kong leading to a
non-local higher and professional qualification meets the registration
criteria stipulated in the Non-local Higher and Professional Education
(Regulation) Ordinance (Cap 493). The HKCAAVQ also advises the
Registrar whether a registered non-local course continues to meet
the registration criteria through annual reassessments.
In the reporting year, the HKCAAVQ streamlined the non-local course
assessment process. Through close collaboration with the Non-local
Courses Registry, the application form and the associated guidance
notes were revised. As a result, the processing time needed for the
assessment was shortened. Positive comments were also received
from operators about the streamlining.
The demand for assessment of non-local courses remained high in
the reporting period. This year, 715 non-local courses assessment
cases (86 new applications, 442 annual returns and 187 changes
of applications) were processed, representing a 25% increase
compared to the last reporting period. In particular, the number of
change applications increased by 33%, whereas the numbers of
new applications and annual returns increased by 23% and 22%
Breakdown of new applications for non-local course assessment (1 April 2012 - 31 March 2013)
Assessment of CEF Courses
The HKCAAVQ is commissioned by the Labour and Welfare Bureau
(LWB) to assess the Continuing Education Fund (CEF) reimbursable
courses to ensure that these courses meet the CEF’s requirements
in areas such as course contents, learning activities and teaching
premises. The HKCAAVQ also conducts surprise audit visits to
ascertain whether the CEF courses are operated in compliance with
the approved conditions determined by the LWB.
This year, the HKCAAVQ refined the assessment procedures. The
HKCAAVQ worked closely with the LWB and the Office of the
Continuing Education Fund to streamline the assessment process
and developed a simplified application form, thereby minimising the
amount of information required to be submitted by the CEF course
providers while maintaining the quality of the service. The CEF course
providers expressed positive feedback on our efforts in streamlining
the assessment process.
In the reporting period, the HKCAAVQ conducted 80 surprise
audit visits and assessed 1,846 applications, of which 469 were
new applications and 1,377 were applications for amendments
to registered CEF reimbursable courses. The numbers of new
applications and amendments increased by 30% and 23%
Breakdown of the new applications for assessment of CEF reimbursable courses
(1 April 2012 - 31 March 2013)
Staff Capacity Building Initiatives
The HKCAAVQ strives to enhance the professional knowledge of
staff to cope with the rapid changes in the education sector. In the
reporting year, overseas specialists were invited to deliver talks on
the developments in quality assurance in different parts of the world
so as to keep our staff informed about international good practices.
Thematic sharing sessions were also conducted to enable our staff
to share their knowledge and experience in a particular field. For
the purpose of preparing for taking up the task of quality audit in
the future, the similarities and differences between accreditation
and audit were also covered in a series of staff capacity building
initiatives. These activities not only helped to enhance the professional
knowledge of our staff but also enabled us to reflect on our existing
services for continuous improvement.
Given the incorporation of academic accreditation and assessment
of non-local courses and CEF courses in the same functional area, it
is anticipated that the synergy created will further refine our work, in
particular due to the close correlation between the NLP accreditation
and assessment of non-local courses. To cope with the rising
demands for academic accreditation and assessment services, the
HKCAAVQ will keep on exploring different ways to enhance the
effectiveness and efficiency of our work.