Summary of FindingsBack


The first part of the survey was to study the general public's perception of the local universities, namely, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), The City University of Hong Kong (CityU), The Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), The Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd), The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), The Lingnan University (Lingnan), The Polytechnic University of Hong Kong (PolyU) and The University of Hong Kong (HKU), order rotated in different questionnaires. By means of a rating scale from 0-10, with 0 representing the worst, 10 representing the best and 5 being half-half, these universities were assessed one by one with regard to their overall performance plus three core attributes selected by the researcher and the client.


In order to eliminate possible bias due to ordering, the sequence of rating the eight universities was randomly rotated across all rating questions.


A. Overall Performance


First of all, all respondents were asked to evaluate each of these local universities based on their perception of its overall performance using a scale of 0-10, with 0 representing the worst, 10 representing the best and 5 being half-half. Respondents were suggested to take into account the university's local and international reputation, facilities, campus environment, qualification of its teaching staff, academic research performance, conduct and quality of its students, its learning atmosphere, as well as the diversification and degree of recognition for its courses. Survey result shows that, in terms of public perception, HKU received the highest mean score of 7.87 as rated by 728 respondents, CUHK came second with an average score of 7.53 rated by 725 respondents, whereas HKUST ranked third with a mean score of 7.16 rated by 685 respondents (Table 1).

 Table 1 - Overall Performance
  Average Standard error No. of raters Recognition(No. of raters/ total sample)
 HKU 7.87 0.05 728 70.7%
 CUHK 7.53 0.05 725 70.5%
 HKUST 7.16 0.06 685 66.6%
 PolyU 6.78 0.05 698 67.8%
 HKBU 6.21 0.05 679 66.0%
 CityU 6.10 0.06 659 64.0%
 HKIEd 5.83 0.06 604 58.7%
 Lingnan 5.44 0.06 619 60.2%

B. Transparency in Dealing with Internal and External Parties


As regards the perceived transparency of each university when carrying out new policies and reforms, taking into consideration its performance in consulting its students and staff, releasing information to the mass media, as well as explaining itself to the public and collecting public opinions, HKU again received the highest rating with a mean score of 6.64 rated by 546 respondents, whereas CUHK ranked second with an average score of 6.60 from 546 respondents, which comprised the first tier in terms of perceived transparency. The third and fourth ranks, which formed the next tier, fell to HKUST (6.29) and PolyU (6.17) respectively (Table 2).

 Table 2 - Transparency
  Average Standard error No. of raters Recognition(No. of raters/ total sample)
 1.HKU 6.64 0.07 546 53.1%
 2.CUHK 6.60 0.07 546 53.1%
 3.HKUST 6.29 0.07 514 50.0%
 4.PolyU 6.17 0.07 514 50.0%
 5.CityU 5.82 0.07 504 49.0%
 6.HKBU 5.81 0.07 499 48.5%
 7.HKIEd 5.59 0.08 460 44.7%
 8.Lingnan 5.32 0.08 477 46.4%

C. Contribution to Society made by Teaching Staff


As on the perceived contribution made to society by each university's teaching staff, taking into consideration their academic research performance, efforts in promoting their university's image and upgrading its international ranking, participation in community services, as well as their response and commitment to the needs of society, HKU again received the highest mean score of 7.28 rated by 596 respondents, followed closely by CUHK at 7.17 from 599 raters and then HKUST at 6.90 rated by 565 respondents (Table 3).

 Table 3 - Contribution to Society
  Average Standard error No. of raters Recognition(No. of raters/ total sample)
 1.HKU 7.28 0.06 596 57.9%
 2.CUHK 7.17 0.06 599 58.2%
 3.HKUST 6.90 0.07 565 54.9%
 4.PolyU 6.51 0.07 569 55.3%
 5.HKBU 6.07 0.07 556 54.0%
 6.CityU 5.96 0.07 549 53.4%
 7.HKIEd 5.86 0.08 527 51.2%
 8.Lingnan 5.47 0.07 514 50.0%

D. Overall Performance of Vice-Chancellor/President


The last question rated in this part of the survey was the perceived overall performance of the Vice-Chancellor/President of each university, taking into consideration one's local and international reputation, approachability, leadership, vision, social credibility and public relations. It is noteworthy that the recognition rates for all current Vice-Chancellors/ Presidents rated were below 50% (ranging from 37% to 49%), lower than all other attributes described before. In this aspect, Professor Paul C.W. Chu of HKUST received the highest average score of 7.26 rated by 495 respondents, and Professor Arthur K.C. Li of CUHK came second, with a mean score of 7.09 rated by 503 respondents. The next tier was formed by the Vice-Chancellors/Presidents of HKU, PolyU, Lingnan, HKBU and CityU (in descending order), as their average scores fell within a narrow range from 6.67 to 6.31. Professor Ruth Hayhoe of HKIEd received a mean score of 5.94 as well as the lowest recognition rate (Table 4).

 Table 4 - Overall Performance of Vice-Chancellor/President
  Average Standard error No. of raters Recognition(No. of raters/ total sample)
 1.HKUST - Prof Paul C.W. CHU 7.26 0.07 495 48.1%
 2.CUHK - Prof Arthur K.C. LI 7.09 0.06 503 48.9%
 3.HKU - Prof W.I.R. DAVIES 6.67 0.08 402 39.1%
 4.PolyU - Prof Chung-kwong POON 6.56 0.07 459 44.6%
 5.Lingnan - Prof Edward K.Y. CHEN 6.48 0.07 480 46.6%
 6.HKBU - Prof Ching-fai NG 6.31 0.07 447 43.4%
 7.CityU - Prof H.K. CHANG 6.31 0.07 415 40.3%
 8.HKIEd - Prof Ruth HAYHOE 5.94 0.08 378 36.7%

E. Relative Strengths and Weaknesses


As a collective analysis, the average scores attained by each university regarding three of the above attributes (excluding the overall performance rating of the universities) were used to produce a relative strength-and-weakness profile.


As shown from Charts 1 to 8 (in alphabetical order of universities), all attributes with a positive value (presented on the right side of the chart) represent the relative strengths of each university in terms of the three attributes measured. Conversely, negative attributes (on the left of the chart) refer to their relative weaknesses. And the value next to each bar denotes the net difference between the average score of that particular attribute and the overall average of the three attributes obtained by each university. However, since the list of attributes measured in this survey is far from comprehensive (only three, even after including the performance of their Vice-Chancellors/Presidents into the analysis), the profiles shown here would not be able to reflect the full picture. They are included here just to demonstrate one approach to make sense of the data collected, using a framework developed in last year's survey.


As a general observation, among the three attributes measured, transparency is a negative asset for all universities. HKU is unique in that the contribution made by its staff stands out as its only strength among the three attributes. For Lingnan and CityU, the performance of their Presidents stands out to be their only strength among the three attributes. For all universities, there seems to be a mixture of strengths, with CUHK more on the contribution attribute, and others more on the performance of their Vice-Chancellors/Presidents.


F. Experience in Taking Courses in Institutions of Continuing Education


The second part of the survey investigated respondents' experience or interest in taking programmes offered by the local schools of continuing education. Results show that a total of 316 respondents (31% of the overall sample) had taken or considered taking these programmes, including all academic or leisure courses, sub-degree or higher diploma programmes, and courses offered on short-term or long-term basis.


As far as the academic and leisure courses are concerned, excluding sub-degree and higher diploma programmes, 14% had taken such courses, another 12% had thought of taking them, together giving a total of 26% (Table 5).


When it came to sub-degree programmes tailored for those not qualified to take on degree programmes, only 2% had taken them, while another 4% have considered taking them (Table 6). Apart from the fact that most respondents were not eligible for these programmes, the fact that these sub-degree programmes were newly launched by the local universities may have contributed to these low figures.


As on the high diploma programmes, 7% had taken them, while another 8% have considered taking them (Table 7).

 Table 5 - Experience in Taking Academic or Leisure Courses
  Frequency Percentage
 Yes - Have taken 122 11.9% )
 Yes - Have considered taking 122 11.8% )
 Both 20 2.0% ) 25.7%
 No 765 74.3%  
 Total 1,029 100.0%  
 Base 1,029    
 Missing case(s) 0    
 Table 6 - Experience in Taking Sub-degree Programmes
  Frequency Percentage
 Yes - Have taken 23 2.2% )
 Yes - Have considered taking 45 4.3% )
 Both 2 0.2% ) 6.7%
 No 960 93.3%  
 Total 1,029 100.0%  
 Base 1,029    
 Missing case(s) 0    
 Table 7- Experience in Taking Higher Diploma Programmes
  Frequency Percentage
 Yes - Have taken 65 6.3% )
 Yes - Have considered taking 81 7.9% )
 Both 5 0.5% ) 14.7%
 No 876 85.3%  
 Total 1,027 100.0%  
 Base 1,029    
 Missing case(s) 2    

G. Preference for Institution of Continuing Education


Respondents who had either taken or considered taking any of the courses mentioned were then requested to name the institution of continuing education which they preferred most. The School of Professional And Continuing Education (SPACE) at HKU was found to be the most popular, chosen by 30% of this sub-sample (i.e. 9% of total sample). The School of Continuing Studies at CUHK ranked second, chosen by 18% of the sub-sample (or 5% of total sample), followed closely by the School of Professional Education and Executive Development at PolyU, which was chosen by 15% of the sub-sample (or 5% of total sample, Table 8).


Regarding the major reasons for choosing a particular institution, "reputation of the institution" was cited most frequently (by 8% of total sample), followed by "practical value of the course" (6%), "venue/transportation" (5%) and then "qualification of its teaching staff" (5%, Table 9).

 Table 8 - Most Preferred Institution of Continuing Education
  Frequency Percentage % of total sample (Base=1,029)
 HKU School of Professional And Continuing Education, HKU 92  29.5%  8.9% 
 School of Continuing Studies, CUHK 56  17.8%  5.4% 
 School of Professional Education and Executive Development, PolyU 48  15.4%  4.7% 
 School of Continuing Education, HKBU 24  7.8%  2.3% 
 Continuing and Professional Education, HKUST 23  7.3%  2.2% 
 School of Continuing and Professional Education, CityU 14  4.5%  1.4% 
 Li Ka Shing Institute of Professional and Continuing Education, OUHK 10  3.3%  1.0% 
 Division of Continuing Professional Education, HKIEd 2.5%  0.8% 
 Lingnan Institute of Further Education, Lingnan 0.4%  0.1% 
 Other overseas school of continuing education set up in Hong Kong 0.4%  0.1% 
 Don't know / hard to say 35  11.2%  3.4% 
 Total 313  100.0%   
 Base 316     
 Missing case(s)    
 Table 9 - Major Reasons for Choosing a Particular Institution
  Frequency % of total responses (Base = 426 responses from 279 respondents) % of total sample (Base=1,029)
 Reputation of the institution 80  18.9%  7.8% 
 Practical value of the course 60  14.2%  5.8% 
 Venue/transportation 55  12.9%  5.3% 
 Qualification of its teaching staff 50  11.6%  4.9% 
 Diversification of different courses 39  9.2%  3.8% 
 Word of mouth / recommended by others 38  9.0%  3.7% 
 Recognition of the course 38  9.0%  3.7% 
 Facilities 13  3.2%  1.3% 
 Alumni 13  3.0%  1.3% 
 Entrance requirement 12  2.9%  1.2% 
 Tuition fees 1.4%  0.6% 
 Linkage with other institutions 1.3%  0.6% 
 Enrolment time table 1.3%  0.5% 
 Others (please specify) 0.9%  0.4% 
 Don't know / hard to say 1.2%  0.5% 
 Total 426  100.0%   
 Base 316     
 Missing case(s) 37     

H. Preference for University Graduates


The last part of this survey studied employers' preference when selecting university graduates. To begin with, all respondents were asked if they were involved in any recruitment process of new staff in performing their office duties. Results reveal that 18% of the sample had such authority in one way or another (Table 10).


Among these respondents, only 13% (i.e. 2% of total sample) had recruited university graduates via university career or counseling centres (Table 11). These respondents were further asked which university graduates they would prefer most when they looked for a new employee. Graduates of HKU topped the list, chosen by 24% of these potential employers. On the other hand, graduates from CUHK and UST were preferred by 19% and 12% of this sub-sample respectively. Meanwhile, one-fifth of these respondents (20%) said they had no particular preference (Table12). It should be noted, however, that because of the small sub-sample base for this question, the sampling error could be as high as 3.7 percentage points. That means at 95% confidence level, the sampling error of percentage figures for this question could be as high as plus/minus 7.4 percentage points, or plus/minus 1.3 percentage points for figures expressed as percentages of the total sample


When these respondents were further asked to provide the reasons for their choices, "good performance of previous graduates" was most commonly cited (38% of sub-sample, or 7% of the total sample). Another 14% (3% of the total sample) thought the graduates of their chosen university were well-equipped with job-related knowledge, whilst 12% (2% of the total sample) preferred certain graduates simply due to the reputation of their university. Other than these, reasons like "good work attitude", "diligent, motivated" and "good language ability" were mentioned by much fewer respondents (Table 13).

 Table 10 - Involvement in Recruitment of New Staff
  Frequency Percentage
 Yes 184  17.9% 
 No 842  82.1% 
 Total 1,026  100.0% 
 Base 1,029   
 Missing case(s)  
 Table 11 - Experience in Recruiting University Graduates via University Career or Counseling Centres
  Frequency Percentage % of total sample(Base = 1,029)
 Yes 25  13.4%  2.4% 
 No 159  86.6%  15.5% 
 Total 184  100.0%   
 Base 184     
 Missing case(s)    
 Table 12 - Most Preferred University Graduates
  Frequency Percentage % of total sample(Base = 1,029)
 HKU  44  24.0%  4.3% 
 CUHK  34  18.7%  3.3% 
 HKUST  21  11.7%  2.0% 
 PolyU 11  6.2%  1.1% 
 CityU 3.0%  0.6% 
 HKBU  2.6%  0.5% 
 HKIEd 1.1%  0.2% 
 Lingnan 0.0%  0.0% 
 Other overseas universities 1.3%  0.2% 
 Others (please specify) 0.6%  0.1% 
 Don't know / hard to say 20  10.7%  1.9% 
 No preference 36  19.9%  3.5% 
 Total 183  100.0%   
 Base 184     
 Missing case(s)    
 Table 13 - Reasons for Preferring Graduates of a Particular University
  Frequency % of total responses (Base = 178 responses from 127 respondents) % of total sample (Base=1,029)
 Good performance of previous graduates 68  37.8%  6.6% 
 Good knowledge in job-related areas 26  14.4%  2.5% 
 Reputation 21  11.8%  2.0% 
 Good work attitude 12  6.5%  1.2% 
 Diligent, motivated 12  6.5%  1.2% 
 Good language ability 10  5.8%  1.0% 
 Alumni 3.8%  0.7% 
 Good connection with outside (e.g., a university's extensive connection with enterprises, companies, or industrial firms; large number of graduates) 3.1%  0.6% 
 Good social relationship 3.0%  0.5% 
 Good leadership 2.3%  0.4% 
 Salary matched ability 0.5%  0.1% 
 Others (please specify) 3.2%  0.6% 
 Don't know / hard to say 1.2%  0.2% 
 Total 178  100.0%   
 Base 184     
 Missing case(s)