SCMP Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Budget cuts force university to launch donations drive


The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology said yesterday it would launch a drive for donations following funding cuts.
University council chairman Vincent Lo Hong-sui said the institution had to seek more donations, particularly from the business sector, after the Government's decision to cut funding for universities over the next three academic years.
Funding for the eight tertiary institutions will be cut by $1.9 billion, or four per cent, to $36.2 billion over the period.
Mr Lo, also president of the Business and Professional Federation, said: "We will step up our publicity drive to let the community know more about our accomplishments over the past 10 years."
Private donations account for less than one per cent of the total expenditure of the university, which began its 10th anniversary celebrations yesterday.
"We know that in the light of the economic downturn, seeking business donations is a difficult task," he said, adding that the university had no set target.
University president Professor Woo Chia-wei said 103 non-academic staff had submitted applications for the voluntary redundancy plan announced in February. "We estimate that if all applications are accepted, we can save $75 million over the next three years." He said most applications would be approved but the university had no plan to extend the plan.
Professor Woo said the university would put more emphasis on academic research with higher commercial potential. He said some business leaders would lobby the business sector on behalf of the university. "In the past, I and other senior administrators sought donations from the sector. I think it will be more convincing for business leaders to spell out the importance of private funding." Professor Woo urged the sector to change its approach to hi-tech industries.