Higher education | Degree recognition to open up local universities to more students

A recently signed memorandum between the SAR government and the Ministry of Education in mainland China on mutual degree recognition is likely to more open the doors for mainland students who want to pursue higher education in Macau – especially those with an applied education background.

The plans suggest that Macau associate, bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees will be recognized by mainland China. In turn, mainland tertiary-level degrees will also be recognized by Macau.

The memorandum also proposes that mainland holders of Applied Education degrees from recognized mainland higher education institutes can apply for bachelor’s degrees in Macau, and Macau holders of associate degrees from recognized institutes can apply for bachelor’s degrees in mainland China.

On Tuesday, the Times sent several questions to the Higher Education Bureau (DSES) asking about the arrangements for mutual recognition of degrees.

According to DSES’s reply, which was received by the Times yesterday, currently, mainland students who wish to apply for bachelor’s degrees at Macau universities must be high school graduates of the current year. This means that mainland high school graduates can only apply to Macau universities right after they take the national college entrance examination in mainland China in June. (The exam takes place on June 8 and 9 each year.) According to the mainland’s schedule, these students should begin attending university in September of the same year.

Currently, only mainland students who meet the aforementioned criteria can apply to study bachelor’s degrees in Macau.

Once the memorandum’s proposal is written into Macau’s laws and comes into effect, more mainland students who are not high school graduates of the current year will be able to apply for bachelor’s degrees, meaning more applicants will seek to enroll in local universities. The policy will mean that aside from high school students graduating in the current year, more students will be eligible to study in Macau for bachelor’s degrees, including those who attended vocational colleges in mainland China and who did not qualify for Macau universities based on their college entrance examination results.

The week, the Times reported that the mutual recognition of tertiary education degrees between mainland China and Macau, and Portugal and Macau has the potential to make processes more convenient for students who wish to pursue further education.

Vong Sou Kuan, associate professor of Sociology of Education at the Faculty of Education of the University of Macau, explained to the Times that the recognition may save students trouble when they plan to seek further education in Portugal.

“Now, with mutual recognition [with Portugal], it is much more convenient for our students. It is actually convenient as well for Macau’s tertiary education, which becomes more internationally-recognized,” Vong told the Times.

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