The effectiveness of sub-degree programmes the associate degree programme: a study of graduates' preparedness for further study and employment

Chan, Kwai Chi Amy (2019) The effectiveness of sub-degree programmes the associate degree programme: a study of graduates' preparedness for further study and employment. EdD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

The expansion of post-secondary education in Hong Kong triggered the establishment of community colleges for the purpose of widening access to post-secondary education and enhancing the employability of graduates. Although the community colleges established in Hong Kong offer associate degree (AD) programmes, their subsequent educational value is still not evident. This study investigates how effective AD curricula are in enabling graduates to achieve competencies in generic skills necessary for further study and employment. The study employs a case study design and uses both qualitative and quantitative research methods to explore graduates’ perceptions about the usefulness of AD programmes in preparing students for further study and employment. The research questions are: What motivates AD graduates to pursue further study? What perceptions do graduates have about the usefulness of AD programmes in enabling them to pursue further study and acquire employment? Does the AD curriculum enable students to acquire basic competency in generic skills essential for further study and employment? One hundred and six AD graduates were involved in the study. All qualitative data were analysed using coding strategy, and all quantitative results using SPSS version 16.

The study has three main findings. First, the primary goal of AD graduates was to pursue further education, with a view to enhancing their career and socio-economic status, in the belief that most well-paying jobs are acquired based on academic merit. Second, the graduates perceived the AD programmes to be more useful for giving those who missed admission into UGC-funded universities the opportunity to pursue a bachelor’s degree in an ‘unconventional way’ and for providing students with credentials required for further study, than for preparing them for employment. Third, the AD curriculum enables students to acquire basic competency in generic skills that are essential for pursuing further study and becoming competitive in employment and work performance.

The study concludes that the establishment of the AD programmes in community colleges has value for advancing students’ educational prospects in Hong Kong. However, there is still a need to incorporate professional knowledge and widen students’ real-life exposure in the AD curriculum. Therefore, community colleges need to work more closely with various public and private organisations to provide more internship and industrial attachment opportunities for students to develop strong generic skills competencies and demonstrate professional work performance.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (EdD)
Supervisors: Holford, John
Speight, Sarah
Keywords: associate degree, community colleges, further education, employability, articulation, generic skills, self-financing and UGC-funded
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher education
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 57123
Depositing User: Chan, Kwai
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2020 12:29
Last Modified: 06 May 2020 08:33
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/57123

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