1. Arising from the novel coronavirus infection, it is hereby announced that the special arrangements below have been put in place with immediate effect to cater for situations of suspension and/ or cancellation of classes under the Continuing Education Fund (CEF).
2. A CEF course provider should conduct its course in accordance with the registered course specifications as approved by the Labour and Welfare Bureau (LWB), including but not limited to the approved contact teaching hours, the teaching venues as well as the assessment methods and weightings. A course provider shall seek prior written approval from LWB via Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications (HKCAAVQ) for proposed amendment(s) to any of the course specifications.
3. For the purpose of claiming reimbursement of course fee, a course participant should obtain a “Proof of Completion” from the course provider to certify that the relevant course participant has passed the stipulated course assessment and the attendance requirement of at least 70% (or a higher threshold as designated by the course provider) of the CEF course.
4. If a course provider cannot deliver a certain course according to the approved specifications or as scheduled, it must, as far as possible, offer to :
1The refund should be made in accordance with the Guide to Registration, Post-registration and Renewal of Reimbursable Courses under the Continuing Education Fund including the CEF Terms and Conditions (the Guide) (applicable to non-self-accrediting course providers), or in accordance with the institution’s refund policy (applicable to self-accrediting course providers).
5. The underlying purposes of the above practice are to safeguard the interests of learners and ensure the proper use of public money, while upholding the quality and teaching objectives of the courses concerned.
6. We have recently received feedback that the novel coronavirus infection have brought great difficulties to both course providers and course participants, particularly in delivery and attendance of classes.
7. Without prejudice to the purposes in paragraph 5 above, it is announced that, with immediate effect, some special arrangements will be implemented for courses concerned which classes are genuinely affected for the reasons in paragraph 6.
8. Course providers shall apply to HKCAAVQ for registering deviations from the existing requirements in the following areas if the delivery of the classes concerned are genuinely affected for the reason in paragraph 6:
9. For the purpose of implementing these deviations, the course provider concerned shall strive to uphold the following two principles: (i) structured quality teaching and learning can be sustained and (ii) teacher-student interactions can be ensured. Course providers shall facilitate the spot checks to be conducted by HKCAAVQ and Office of CEF (including online class observations and examinations of attendance records) in view of the above.
10. In view of the recent special circumstances, course providers are encouraged to follow the established practice in paragraph 4 above to offer options to course participants who could not attend classes held due to the reasons in paragraph 6. Course providers are also encouraged to maintain close communication with the course participants concerned in order to provide assistance to them.
11. A course participant whose attendance was genuinely affected for the reason in paragraph 6 might be granted an exceptional approval of a lower attendance requirement i.e. not less than 60% of the total teaching hours) for the purpose of claiming reimbursement from CEF subject to the following two conditions:
Applicability and details of arrangements
12. In light of the specific circumstance as mentioned in paragraph 6, the special arrangement will only be applicable to CEF courses which classes were affected during the period from 1 January 2020 to 31 August 2020. The authority would continue to closely monitor the situation.
13. Course providers affected must submit applications for deviations of CEF classes. Unapplied or unapproved deviations will affect learners’ claims for reimbursement, and will also be considered as non-compliance with the CEF Terms and Conditions
14. As announced earlier on, course providers affected should submit the applications in respect of the deviations made for classes in June to December 2019 by 31 March 2020, otherwise the applications of the parts concerned may be rejected. For avoidance of doubt, if classes of a certain course straddle the two periods (i.e. June to December 2019 and January to August 2020), the course provider may deliver a maximum of 70% of the total approved teaching hours on alternate online platform.
15. The LWB, HKCAAVQ, and the Office of CEF reserve the right to seek supplementary documents from course providers and course participants to verify the authenticity and accuracy of course providers’ proposed deviations and learners’ claims for reimbursement.
16. As for the operational details of the special arrangements, course providers and course participants can visit the website of the Office of CEF (https://www.wfsfaa.gov.hk/cef/en/news/index.htm). Course providers may also contact HKCAAVQ via the hotline at 3658 0241, while learners may contact their course providers, or the Office of CEF via the hotline at 3142 2277 for enquiries.
Labour and Welfare Bureau