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Call for flexibility on tuition for HK schools

By Fei Yang in Hong Kong (China Daily)

09:19, March 12, 2012

Greater flexibility should be considered for Hong Kong universities operating on the mainland, a lawmaker said.

A law should be drafted to allow Hong Kong universities, which are required to run campuses with mainland counterparts, to have a say in setting tuition fees, according to a proposal to the National People's Congress by Ng Ching-fai.

Ng is the president of the United International College in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong province, jointly founded by Beijing Normal University and Hong Kong Baptist University in 2005. The college was the first co-founded by mainland and Hong Kong universities.

Ng said the college's application to set annual tuition fees at 30,000 yuan ($4,750) was rejected by the local watchdog as "too expensive".

"Tuition fees are the only income source for Hong Kong private schools on the mainland," Ng said.

"As we have no grants from the government, nor any donations from the alumni, charging higher than public universities is reasonable," he said.

Ng, who is a Hong Kong deputy to the NPC and former president of Hong Kong Baptist University, also called for allowing private universities, including those set up by Hong Kong universities, to enjoy the same funding opportunities as public ones.

A change in attitudes toward private schools is needed, he said.

"Private schools aren't just 'money makers'. In fact, United International College has been losing money over the past seven years."

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