English version of the article of Wings 21.1

      For whom is interested in English version, we are here to provide some articles of Wings 21.1. about school policy.

Study Week in Fall Term—A Dream or Reality?


        Living in UST is highly correlated to academic results. CGA is emphasized in major selection, exchange, hall application, etc. It is universally recognized that it is a University of Stress and Tension. Yet study week is only limited to Spring Term, whereas the situation isn’t the same for the equally-stressful Fall Term.


        There are sources saying that the University is intended to adjust accordingly. It is likely that there will be a study week before the final examinations in December, as a solution to relieve the pressure due to studies and exams. It is hoped that students will have sufficient time to prepare for the final exams. However, such decision unavoidably reveals how short-sighted the University is.


        Throughout Fall Term, students experience most pressure during mid-term (October and November), rather than before final exam. During that period, on top of daily studies and mid-term examinations, students are simultaneously preoccupied with duties and functions of societies. Freshmen join societies as subcommittee members and assist in organizing events, while adapting to their new identity and living as University students. Executive committee members of societies are recruiting new members, promoting their societies and serving their members in that couple of months. Final-year students have to meet numerous targets: focusing on studies, completing final year projects, finding a job, etc. All these have to be completed in mid-term. Furthermore, usually there is a holiday of at least two days for the use of revision. Providing a lengthened holiday with a similar purpose before final exam period is far less effective in pressure-relieving than that in mid-term. This decision clearly implies the University’s failure in acknowledging the true needs of their students.


        The term “Study Week” is self-explanatory, that it aims at providing more revision time for students. The intention is good, yet it shows the ill-judgment of the University. Study Week is a reflection of their narrow-mindedness. It is an inevitable outcome of the overemphasis of academic performance. It encourages students to revise for the examinations, but ignores other aspects of personal growth. Rather than Study Week, the University can name it as Learning Week that students are encouraged to expose to knowledge and interests other than studying. Surely students can utilize such holiday for revision, but Learning Week would be an option that initiates an atmosphere other than focusing on academic affairs. It is not a brand-new idea in Hong Kong. In The University of Hong Kong (HKU), where respects whole-person development, there is a whole holiday named “Reading Week” in the middle of both regular terms. It is set up to encourage attempts to new interests and book, that students will be exposed to an atmosphere of self-learning. Being particularly effective in relieving pressure, it does no harm to students. Education is not only about results and studies. With such discouraging attitude and direction of the University, how is it possible that students will not be affected to be overstressed in academic results?


        The idea of an additional holiday is beneficial to UST students, but the presentation of such holiday only reflects the shortsightedness and incomprehensiveness, that there is room of improvement. Study week only deals with the results of a problem instead of the problem itself. Unless the policy of over-emphasis in study is adjusted, the sources of pressure would remain, and saddening history will still iterate.


UG Home Distance Score Adjustment


         In the Composite Score System of Hall allocation, home distance score weighs over 50%. Due to the changes in transportation, the scoring system is adjusted once every few years, but each adjustment is poorly received by students. Some chuckle at the raise of score, while more are feeling lost and worried, but students are more shocked and disappointed than usual. As the meaning of the email sent by the University is vague, most students thought that the home distance scores were finalized. Although they were unsatisfied, the result was reluctantly accepted. In the forum on home distance score adjustment on 18th March, 2013, the 13-student taskforce resolved to withdraw the scoring proposal, and the calculation will follow the one set in academic year 2008 -2009. However, why would this particular proposal arouse strong opposition?

Method of Calculation


        Apart from the travelling time, the waiting time during rush hour is also considered. This hints that they justly considered the actual situation. Although it is acceptable to calculate the score with total traffic time, there are more factors that were not mentioned in the minutes to be considered. It is possible that students choose various transports due to the frequency of transit, fee, discounts, walking distance, etc.


        It seems to be controversial that whether the waiting time should be included in calculation. The inclusion would ensure the comprehensiveness of the proposal, but the estimation of the waiting time is extremely complicated. The waiting time is correlated to human factors, such as the time at which the student arrive at the station, the arrival time of the transportation, and whether the transportation is packed with passengers. The differences in these factors are impossible to estimate with a unified standard.

 Collection of Data

        雖然候車時間的分野可能極大,但其敗筆在於收集數據的方式。早前專案小組分三步收集交通時間:先以問卷調查收集數據為主,再參考谷歌地圖(Google Map)的資料,最後由學生助理實地考察偏遠地區,記錄交通時間,確保資料的可信性。表面看似正常,方式合理,問題不大,但其實暗藏玄機。

        Even though the waiting time is a controversial idea, the reason for this epic fail is the methods used in collection of data. There are three steps involved to ensure the credibility of the data: a survey in collecting raw data, adjustment made with information on Google Maps, followed by the site visits to remote areas. Everything seems normal and sensible, but there are more underlying problems than you can imagine.


        Questionnaire is a plausible method. As the most frequent travelers between UST and home, students should be those who are clearest about the average traffic time. However, the taskforce failed to foresee the limited response as most students would not response to the questionnaire. They did not consider that those responses are likely to be affected by one particularly unpleasant experience. The region in the perception of students might not be the same as that in the scoring system. All lead to the lack of credibility of the survey.


        The use of Google Maps as reference is more than ridiculous. Transport Department of our Hong Kong Government has an official website that provides not less than 10 recommended travel route for each location in Hong Kong. Information includes different transition combinations, fare and travelling time. It was used in the last adjustment of this system. However, this taskforce ridiculously forwent the official information, and used Google, which has no obligation to the accuracy of data, as reference.


        Furthermore, as mentioned by one of the taskforce member, a 1-week round trip site visit was conducted to selected remote areas. Over 20 student helpers are required to take a photo upon departure and arrival for time keeping and as a proof of job accomplished. Other than factors like whether helpers are biased about that particular region that they are not living in, there is limitation in time, that helpers can only conduct the site visit during peak hours. In such a short period of time, a limited number of student helpers create constraints to the set of statistics. However, not all areas are being site-visited. It is unknown to students which of those areas are depending on the data of surveying and which are depending on site visit. Moreover, the waiting time obtained in surveying is inconsistent with that from site visit, and in such cases, time recorded in site visit is used. Length of the waiting time depends of luck, and merely two results are unlikely to be more accurate than the daily experience of students. Such a resolution is affected by subjective judgment and hence creates the inconsistency of the home distance score.


宿分=(交通時間 - 27)/1.85

        According to the constraints set by University Grants Committee, students whose daily total traffic time is more than 4 hours shall have priority in hall allocation, which means that areas that single trip travelling time is more than 120 minutes will be scored with the maximum score of 50. Areas with the shortest traffic time, i.e. 27 minutes, will be scored 0. For the areas which the traffic time is between the two, the following formula is used:
Home distance score = (traffic time-27)/1.85

Problems with the New Home Distance Scoring System

        > 滿分的區域由十九個減至五個,新界西北地區,例如屯門、元朗、天水圍均不獲滿分,漠視偏遠地區同學來回交通之苦。而且去年宿位風波事件的其中一個爆發點是由於本科生宿分達五十分仍不獲派校園內的宿位,而要輪候香港三育書院(HKAC),該處往返科大車程不少於三十分鐘,而且往返的班次稀疏,極不方便。如果情況與去年相近,偏遠地區的同學極有可能因宿分不足五十而不獲發宿位。

       > The number of the districts with a full score decreases from 19 to 5. Northwestern areas of the New Territories like Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai are not given a full score. The suffering from travelling back and forth of students living in remote areas is thus neglected. In the hall place disputes last year, one of its flash points was that some undergraduates awarded a score of 50 still were still not offered hall places and was put on the waiting list of Hong Kong Adventist College (HKAC), where is extremely inconvenient to travel back and forth with UST due to the travelling time back and forth more than 30 minutes and a dispersed number of runs of public transport. Providing that the situation is similar with last year's, students from remote areas would probably not be offered hall places as their score is less than 50.

        > 部份離島區域不獲滿分,根據運輸處官方資料,例如大澳最短交通時間為一百三十分鐘,宿分表標示其為一百一十五分鐘,只獲四十七分;南丫島交通時間為一百二十分鐘至一百三十五分鐘,宿分表標示其為一百零一分鐘,更只獲四十分。

        > Some districts in Outlying Islands were not awarded a full score. With reference to the official data of Transport Department, the shortest traffic time for Tai O is 130 minutes and that for Lamma Island is 120 to 135 minutes. The score table, however, indicates that the traffic time for Tai O is 115 minutes and that for Lamma Island is 101 minutes. Tai O is awarded 47 while Lamma Island even 40.

         > 部分鐵路沿線地區交通時間存在極大矛盾。例如彩虹往科大的交通時間為四十四分鐘,而佐敦往科大只需四十七分鐘,難道三分鐘時間足夠由彩虹去到佐敦?銅鑼灣設有港鐵站,交通時間為七十一分鐘,鄰近銅鑼灣而沒有港鐵站的渣甸山往科大只需七十分鐘;中環往科大需時七十二分鐘,港島線中比中環更遠的上環只需七十分鐘,難道科大與上環之間存在蟲孔?

        > The traffic time, of some districts along the railway, are greatly contradictory. For instance, it is shown that to UST it takes 40 minutes from Choi Hung and 47 minutes from Jordan, but is 3 minutes enough for one to go from Choi Hung to Jordan? There is a railway station at Causeway Bay and the traffic time is 71 minutes, while it takes only 70 minutes with Jardine's Lookout, at where there is no railway station, near Causeway Bay. It takes 72 minutes from Central to UST but 70 minutes from Sheung Wan, which is further than Central on Island Line - is there a loophole between UST and Sheung Wan?

        > 以主要幹線觀察而發現部分地區的交通時間不合理,例如下列三地屬屯門公路周邊地區,距離由近至遠排列,深井/龍頭往返科大需時一百零三分鐘,黃金海岸需時一百零六分鐘。前往大欖涌必須路經深井/龍頭或黃金海岸兩者其一,但宿分表標示只需時六十五分鐘。

        > Considering main lines, one can observe irrationality of traffic time of some districts. Sham Tseng, Lung Tau and Gold Coast are near Tuen Mun Road. It takes 103 minutes to travel back and forth between Sham Tseng/Lung Tau and UST and 106 minutes between Gold Coast and UST. One must pass through either Sham Tseng/Lung Tau or Gold Coast to To Tai Lam Chung, but the score table indicates that it only takes 65 minutes.

         > 將所有地區宿分相加,會發現舊宿分表的總分為三千一百六十二分,新宿分表總分卻只有三千零九十一分,這變相降低居所宿分的比重。

         > The sum of all district scores in the original score table is 3162, but that in the new one is 3091 only. It de facto decreases the ratio of residence score.

         > 部份地區並不包括在宿分表內,例如土瓜灣不在列表中,但實際上不可算作紅磡或馬頭圍。

         > Some districts are not included in the score table. To Kwa Wan is one of them, but it actually cannot be regarded as Hung Hom or Ma Tau Wai.

         > 部份分區面積太大,同區內的不同地點交通時間存在極大差別,例如寶馬山雖為北角區,但由寶馬山到北角港鐵站最少需時十分鐘。

         > The areas of some districts are too big that there is a great difference of the traffic time for various locations in the same districts. For example, Po Ma Shan is in North Point, but it takes at least ten minutes from there to North Point MTR Station.


一、 在分數上遷就居於偏遠地區的同學
 Adjusting the score to accommodate those living in remote areas


         As the weighing of home distance score remains unchanged, it is implied that the task force agree with the importance of home distance in hall allocation. To accommodate more students, the taskforce can set the full mark to be eg. 110 minutes, instead of 120 minutes.

二、 以運輸署資訊為準
Use the information from HK Transport department for referencing


         This database is user-friendly. Using it as the only sources on information can avoid arguments settled by subjective judgment. Revealing this method of referencing, arguments can be avoided. It is recommended that the task force could use the transport time with the 5 least transit frequencies and 5 cheapest routes, then take the average of those data. This considers both aspects of convenience and fare.

三、 候車時間
Waiting Time


         It is too complicated in terms of the resources of the taskforce to calculate a set of accurate and comprehensive waiting time. An alternative way would be to calculate the number of transition and add a waiting time according to the transport. This is less complicated, but as it is hard to have a standardized waiting time, the best solution is to simplify the issue by forgoing the waiting time.

四、 SHO支援專案小組
SHO as a support to the taskforce

         It is not clear that to what extent the Student Housing Office involved in this adjustment. As a department specializing in housing issue, they should have a more comprehensive set of related information and accelerate the progress of the survey. On the other hand, student helpers are also stakeholders in the adjustment. If the site visits are conducted by staff of SHO, it can effectively avoid the conflict of interest.

五、 公佈方案前再三考證
Double-checking before announcing the proposal


         A large set of data was collected and considering the hopes of finishing the chart before the application for the new residential year, it is acceptable for the proposal for the short-staffed taskforce to contain a reasonable amount of errors. Yet many of the problems can be discovered with basic knowledge to geography and transport network of Hong Kong. Together with detailed reviewing, most of those errors could be avoided. It should be treated with serenity as the scoring is affecting the interests of most students.

Reflection on Taskforce

        當同學在諮詢會上一一細數新宿分不合理之處,專案小組的其中一位教授竟一再強調分數的本身並不具任何意義,其作用只是基數排列(Ordinal Ranking),以便定出各區域的先後次序。但此說法顯然是校方又一似是而非、混淆視聽的例子。如果居所宿分只是計算宿分的單一指標,分數的多寡當然不重要,但宿分制度並非只考慮交通時間,亦包括學生對科大的貢獻及學業成績等其他範疇,因此不能將居所宿分簡單化地視為一種排列先後次序的方式。

        While students were commenting on the unreasonable parts in the proposal,one of the professors in the taskforce repeatedly emphasized that the points itself had no actual meaning other than a means of ordinal ranking for different areas. This is utterly wrong. If home distance scoring is the single standard in the composite scoring system, the points itself obviously is unimportant, but it is not the actual situation. Composite scoring system also considers contribution and academic results. Therefore it has a relative relationship with other aspects in the system, and cannot be simplified as a method of ordinal ranking.


        The other surprising fact of the task force is the attendance of its members. As aforementioned, there are a total of 13 members in the taskforce and among the 9 meetings with minutes uploaded; only one student representative attended all meetings, while five representatives attended less than 2 meetings. With such low attendance that even the SU Ex-co representative only attended merely more than half of all meetings, how can they sufficiently reflect the needs of students? How can they speak for students? How can they expect students would recognize their representation? How can they persuade students to believe in their conclusion and approve of the new Home Distance Scoring proposal?

Future of Taskforce


         As some students in the taskforce will soon graduate, it is decided that the taskforce will be dissolved and reform as soon as possible. Since the attendance record of the representatives is not satisfying, the number of student representatives will be cut to a maximum of five, including one representative each from the HKUSTSU executive committee, the Editorial Board and the SU Council respectively, together with a maximum of two popularly-elected student representatives with more than 400 votes in the online voting system. The reformed taskforce is expected to set the composite score calculation system and complete the proposal before November. In the lights of previous experience and more active involvement of students in terms of expressing opinions, it is believed that the recommendation of the taskforce will be more practical and realistic. Yet none of the previous taskforce member will be involve in the reformed taskforce, hence the outcome is still filled with variables.