Board Matters

FACT: BUSINESS COLLEGE

Summary:

  • In March, the EDB ordered GSIS to stop operating the Business College
  • According to the EDB, the BC program is considered post-secondary education in Hong Kong, for which GSIS has never had a license
  • Offering post-secondary education without a license is a serious offence in Hong Kong.
  • The EDB indicated that it had been led to believe by earlier Boards that the BC offered secondary education
  • GSIS had been operating the BC without a license at a substantial cost and risk to the rest of our school for many years
  • The current Board has helped the BC program find a new home in Hong Kong
  1. The Requisitionists, in their Supporting Statements, appear to blame the Board for the closure of the Business College (“BC”). They do not attempt to support this with any facts.  Since it seems that many members do not have a good understanding of what the BC is and why GSIS had to stop operating it, we will try to clarify matters below.
  2. The BC offers a two-year program run by GSIS under a contract with German Industry and Commerce Ltd. (“GIC”), an affiliate of the German Chamber of Commerce. Its curriculum is set by GIC and includes wholesale and foreign trade and transport and logistics management courses.  Students spend 1.5 days per week in class and the remaining 3.5 days at a trainee company.
  3. The GSIS Association is simply the service provider. The BC students pay tuition of HK$46,000 to GSIS.  The GIC charges an annual “Service Fee” of HK$8,400 for each student at the BC.  This fee is not shared with GSIS.  Students do not need a debenture.
  4. As was communicated by this Board in March of this year, the Education Bureau of Hong Kong has ordered GSIS to stop operating the BC at the end of the current school year. The reason for this decision was that the EDB has assessed the BC program to constitute post-secondary education, for which GSIS does not have a license and cannot get one. The EDB made its assessment primarily on the basis of (1) the entry requirements of the program, (2) the credits that the BC graduates receive at universities for their BC degrees and (3) the age of the students at the BC.
  5. Although in its early years the BC may have offered proper secondary education, over time it has developed into a program with entry requirements and credit arrangements with universities that make it post-secondary in Hong Kong, even if it could still be called secondary in Germany.
  6. GSIS has never had a license to provide post-secondary or non-formal education in Hong Kong. Offering post-secondary education without a license is a serious offence in Hong Kong.  It is unclear why this program was operated by GSIS for so long without a license.  Board minutes from as early as 2002 indicate that the school was aware of this problem.
  7. This question is highly relevant because not only was the BC operated at a substantial loss to GSIS over a long period of time, resulting in higher tuition fees for the school’s kindergarten, primary and secondary school parents, but in its letter to the school the EDB expresses dismay at having been misled in the past about the true nature of the BC program.
  8. Our school depends on the EDB not only for our leases of the Peak and Pokfulam campuses at minimal rent, but also for our licenses to operate our schools. The lease for Pokfulam, which expired last summer and the second extension of which will expire this August, does not permit us to use the campus for secondary or post-secondary education.  Again, it is unclear why previous Boards allowed the BC to operate from this campus and at what risk to our school.
  9. Most importantly, the school has worked with GIC and the BC students to find a new home for the program in Hong Kong.  Here, the BC will be able to thrive with the correct licenses in place and with the attention it deserves.   The current first-year BC students will be able to finish their degrees and a new class of BC students, including 3 Abitur-graduates from GSIS, will be able to begin their training in September.