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Tuesday, June 28, 2016, 22:04

Survey reveals lack of interest in continuing education

By Honey Tsang

HONG KONG — Most young people in Hong Kong believe that the pursuit of continuing education is necessary for personal development.

However, a new survey shows that only a small amount of respondents, or 32 percent, have taken continuing education courses over the past five years. The   survey was released on June 28 by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG).

Among young people dedicated to extending education, over 60 percent said they had not been reimbursed for any tuition fees through the Continuing Education Fund (CEF), a subsidy earmarked by the government to encourage adults to seek lifetime learning.

The main reason for individuals not applying for the fund is that the courses taken are not reimbursable under the CEF, the researchers said.

They said many adults acknowledge the importance to continued education after completing mainstream education courses. But many delay doing this for a variety of reasons.

Janis Tong, a member of Youth IDEAS established by the HKFYG, urged the government to broaden the scope of reimbursable courses and increase the amount of CEF for each applicant from the current HK$10,000 to HK$20,000.

The maximum ceiling of HK$10,000 per CEF applicant remains unchanged since 2002 when the CEF was established. It has not kept up with the cost of living over the last decade, the members added.

"By increasing the subsidy, this could act as an incentive which eases the financial burden young people with learning aspirations face," said Tong.

The HKFYG conducted the Young People’s Views on Continuous Learning survey during May 12-29 this year. A total of 527 adults, aged 18-39, were interviewed by phone.

Since 2002, the CEF has financed eligible Hong Kong people, aged from 18 to 65, to continue education. On completion of a reimbursable course, 80 percent of course fees can be refunded. Each applicant is granted a maximum sum of HK$10,000 within four years from the date when the application is approved.

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