A case study of the articulation and employment opportunities of Hong Kong associate degree graduates

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2011
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Higher education in Hong Kong has undergone major transformation over the past decade, responding to forces of globalisation, an increasingly knowledge-driven economy and international competitiveness. One significant development has been the growth in community colleges offering self-financed sub-degree programs, in particular the Associate Degree (AD). However, to date, little is known to of the experiences of AD graduates in terms of their articulation and employment prospects and their perceptions of the value of AD programs. This thesis explores how Hong Kong's self-financed post-secondary education sector has served to connect the New Senior Secondary (NSS) system with higher education and the significant parts played by both internal credit transfer and broader market forces. This thesis is a qualitative case study of the perspectives of students, parents, teachers, employers and senior administrators of community colleges. It takes a rich, multi-perspectival approach consisting of semi-structured interviews, policy history, document analysis and recent evaluations of the AD program in Hong Kong in order to identify patterns of experience associated with articulation to higher education and employment post-graduation. The study argues that government policy, the economic situation and institutional and personal factors, such as lea.mer engagement, play an important role in affecting AD graduates' futures. This has implications for public and private managers in relation to quality improvement in the current sub-degree offerings in Hong Kong. The significance of the present study is that it provides qualitative cross-referencing to future developments at this transitional stage from the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) and the A-Level (HKAL) examinations to the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) examination and from community colleges to private universities. The findings from the study have implications for the transfer of AD programs from the traditional education system (HKCEE and HKAL) to the NSS system, marking a progressive shift towards privatisation in Hong Kong higher education.
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