File Reference: EMB CR 4/3231/90 III (92)


Lingnan University Bill


At the meeting of the Executive Council on 1 June 1999, the Council ADVISED and the Chief Executive ORDERED that -

  1. Lingnan College should be granted university status and should adopt a new internal governance structure; and

  2. the Lingnan University Bill, at Annex A, should be introduced into the Legislative Council.


Self-Accrediting Status

2. On 8 September 1998, the Executive Council ADVISED and the Chief Executive ORDERED that Lingnan College (LC) should assume the responsibility for accrediting its own degree courses, subject to the normal periodic external reviews of its teaching and learning quality processes and other quality assurance measures undertaken by the University Grants Committee (UGC). Details of the decision are set out in a Legislative Council brief sent to Members on 8 September 1998.

Pre-conditions for University Title

3. Under the existing policy, the granting of university title to any of the non-university institutions funded by the UGC should only follow when the following three conditions are met -

  1. acceptance by the institution of the principle and terms of a differentiation of roles among UGC-funded institutions;

  2. acceptance and implementation of a common basis of funding as applied to other UGC-funded universities; and

  3. attainment of self-accrediting status.

4. Regarding 3(a) above, both the UGC and the Administration view the system of higher education as a whole and, as far as possible, seek to reconcile the aspirations of individual institutions with the needs of the community. The aim is to develop a system of higher education that has an appropriate balance between programmes at different levels and in different areas and in which the institutions make contributions to the community through the provision of trained manpower, research collaboration, consultancy and other means. LC aspires to become an internationally recognised liberal arts university with Hong Kong characteristics. Its role and mission, as agreed by LC and the UGC, are as follows:

  1. offers first-degree courses in Arts, Business and Social Sciences;

  2. provides a general education programme which seeks to offer all students a broad educational perspective;

  3. may run a small number of higher degree programmes and has research work in some subject areas; and

  4. maintains strong links with the community.

5. As regards paragraph 3(b) above, LC has been funded fully on par with other UGC-funded institutions, including the adoption of common (university) salary scale for academic and equivalent administrative staff since 1992. With the approval of the Executive Council, LC was awarded self-accrediting status in September 1998. Following the fulfillment of three pre-conditions in paragraph 3, LC has applied for the award of university title and status. Having considered the LC's proposal in detail, the UGC recommends, and we agree, that LC's proposal be endorsed. The Lingnan University Bill has been prepared to give effect to the change of LC's status. Major changes relating to the title, objects, chancellorship, internal governance structure and autonomy of the institution are outlined in the following paragraphs.

University Title

6. Following extensive consultation both within and outside the College, LC proposes that its title be changed to "Lingnan University" in English and in Chinese. These proposed new titles have incorporated the original titles of the College and do not conflict with the titles of existing UGC-funded institutions either linguistically or semantically.

Objects of the Proposed University

7. The existing objects of LC, as stipulated in the Lingnan College Ordinance, are to "provide for education, studies, training and research in arts, commerce, social sciences, science and other subjects of learning". LC proposes that the objects of the proposed Lingnan University (LU) be extended to include providing education, studies, training and research in "humanities" so that the range of programmes provided by the institution can be more accurately reflected. The proposed change is also in line with the role and mission of LC as set out in paragraph 4 above.


8. The Chief Executive is currently the titular head of LC, and will continue to hold such a post in the proposed LU. In line with the terminology adopted by most tertiary institutions, the titular head will be addressed as "Chancellor".

New Internal Governance Structure

9. LC's existing governance structure consists of a Board of Governors, a Council and an Academic Board. The Board of Governors is LC's supreme governing body which is empowered to make appointments to key posts (including the President), and to amend and approve annual budget and estimates. It has a total of 40 members, of whom 18 are nominated by the Lingnan Education Organization Ltd Note . The Council is LC's executive body and is subject to the directions given by the Board of Governors. The Academic Board is the supreme academic body of the College.

10. To bring its internal governance structure into line with other universities, LC, after discussion with the Administration, has proposed a new governance structure. The proposed new structure will consist of three bodies - a Council, a Court and a Senate. The proposed composition and functions of these three bodies are summarised below -

(a) Council

The Council is the "executive body" of the proposed University. It will be empowered to exercise all the statutory powers and shall perform all the statutory duties of the University. Its major powers include the powers to appoint the President and Vice-President of the University, approve the annual budget, and make statutes for the administration of the University. The Council shall consist of 33 members, of which 18 members, including the Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Treasurer, shall be directly appointed by the Chief Executive and seven members shall be nominated by the Lingnan Education Organization Limited and appointed by the Chief Executive. The remaining eight seats are for elected representatives from eligible staff, Professors and Chair Professors and the Senate, as well as for ex-officio members (i.e. the President, the Vice-President and the President of the Students' Union).

(b) Court

The Board of Governors, LC's supreme governing body, will be replaced by the Court, and will in future serve a principally advisory role. The proposed Court will consist of 42 members, including 10 ex-officio members who are also Council members directly appointed by the Chief Executive, six members nominated by the Council and 19 members nominated by the Lingnan Education Organization Limited and appointed by the Chief Executive. The Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Court will be appointed by the Chief Executive from these three categories. The remaining seven seats are for elected/nominated representatives from alumni, eligible staff, Professors and Chair Professors and the Senate, as well as for three other ex-officio members (i.e. the President, the Vice-President and the President of the Students' Union). The Council will need to consult the Court in appointing the President and Vice-President. Besides, the Court may consider and make representations on the annual budget. However, unlike the present Board of Governors of LC, the Court will not be given the power to give general directions to the Council.

(c) Senate

Replacing the existing Academic Board, the Senate is the "supreme academic body" of the proposed University. It would review, develop and regulate matters relating to the academic programmes of the proposed University. Its membership shall be determined by statutes made by the Council.

Powers and Obligations the Government

11. The existing Lingnan College Ordinance provides that the Chief Executive in Council may give directions to the College with respect to the College's exercise of its powers, and make regulations for the better carrying out of the provisions of the Ordinance. Besides, the College is also required by the Ordinance to submit to the Chief Executive or his representative its annual estimates and annual statements and reports. These powers and obligations will be removed, in line with the practice in other local universities.


12. The major provisions of the Bill are set out below -

  1. Clause 3 provides for the establishment and sets out the objects of Lingnan University. Clause 6 stipulates the University's powers.

  2. Clause 4 provides that the Chief Executive is the Chancellor of the University.

  3. Clauses 7 to 12 and Clause 18 provide for the establishment and set out the membership and powers of the Court, the Council and the Senate.

  4. Clauses 15 to 17 provide for the appointment and set out the powers of the President and the Vice-President.

  5. Clause 23 provides for the Council to make statutes for the administration of the University.

  6. Clauses 25 and 26 ensure a smooth transition. Clause 25 ensures that the rights and liabilities of the LC and the length of service of its employees will not be affected by its change of title. Clause 26 puts beyond doubt that the present internal governing bodies, the present President and the present rules of LC will continue to function or to be effective pending the establishment of the new structure.

  7. Clauses 28 to 39 make consequential amendments to other ordinances arising from LC's change of title and status.


13. The legislative timetable will be -

    Publication in the Gazette 17 June 1999
    First Reading and commencement of Second Reading debate 23 June 1999
    Resumption of Second Reading debate, committee stage and Third Reading to be notified


14. On matters concerning tertiary education, especially with regard to UGC-funded institutions, the Government seeks the advice of the UGC. We have consulted the UGC, which has given its support to the change of LC's title as well as the proposed changes to its internal governance structure.


15. The Department of Justice advises that the proposed Bill is consistent with the Basic Law.


16. The Department of Justice advises that the proposed Bill has no human rights implications.


17. The Bill does not bind the state by express provision.


18. The Bill will have no financial or staffing implications for the Government, as LC is already funded fully on par with other UGC-funded universities. Its adoption of a university title and a new internal governance structure would not affect the basis of Government's funding to the UGC-funded institutions.


19. A press release will be issued on 16 June 1999 and the Bill will be gazetted on 17 June 1999. A spokesman will be available to explain the decision and answer media enquiries. A briefing will be arranged for the Legislative Council Panel on Education.


20. In case of enquiry, please contact Ms Michelle LI, Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower, at 2810 3023.

Education and Manpower Bureau
16 June 1999


Lingnan College was established in 1967 by the Lingnan Middle School Limited, which was renamed the Lingnan Education Organization (LEO) Limited in 1969. LEO is the founding body and supervising body of Lingnan College, Lingnan Middle School and Lingnan Primary School. LEO is a registered limited company, with 48 directors.