Hong Kong students go for the old over the new

January 10, 1997

Students from Hong Kong rate United Kingdom degree courses in old universities higher than those in the former polytechnics, according to a new study.

It was found that 87 per cent of the students at old universities rated their courses as excellent or good while the equivalent figure at new universities was 71 per cent. Students in the new universities were less satisfied with the academic advice on offer than were those in the old universities.

The survey, by Maurice Craft, a research professor in education at Greenwich University, surveyed 208 Hong Kong students at five universities, three old and two new. Fifty-seven per cent were aged between 18 and 22, 37 per cent between 23 and 30 and the remaining 6 per cent were over 31.

Professor Craft found that the old universities tended to attract younger women and more affluent students while the new universities enrolled a greater proportion of older students from lower-income families.

Overall the students were positive about their courses and experiences at both old and new British universities. In general they chose to study here because of the perceived quality of UK degrees and universities.

But there were criticisms of the lack of English language support and only 44 per cent said that the level of provision was acceptable. University food and the lack of personal counselling were branded unsatisfactory by nearly all of the students.

Professor Craft said: "The old and new universities clearly offer complementary provision for Hong Kong students. But we do need to be more sensitive to problems of intercultural adjustment, and to the specific criticisms they raise. " Geoff Evans, business development manager for the British Council's Education Counselling Service, agreed more could be done for international students but added: "We are all working with stretched resources. When difficulties have been brought to our attention we follow them up and institutions always react quickly."

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