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Jan retail sales up 0.9%

The value of total retail sales in January, provisionally estimated at $36.5 billion, rose 0.9% compared with the same month in 2023, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate represents a 1.2% year-on-year decrease.   Of the total retail sales value in January, online sales accounted for 6.5%. Provisionally estimated at $2.4 billion, the value of this segment went down by 20.9% compared with a year earlier.   Noting that retail sales tend to show greater volatility in the first two months of a year due to the timing of the Lunar New Year, the department said the year-on-year comparison of the figures might have been affected to a certain extent.   The value of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased 25.2% compared with January 2023.   Increases were also recorded in the sales of other consumer goods not elsewhere classified (up 7

Caritas Institute gets university title

The Education Bureau announced that subsequent to the Chief Executive-in-Council's approval today, Permanent Secretary for Education approved the change of name of the Caritas Institute of Higher Education (CIHE) to "Saint Francis University" in accordance with the Post Secondary Colleges Ordinance.


Congratulating the institution, Secretary for Education Choi Yuk-lin said the granting of a university title not only represents a milestone for CIHE but also bears testimony to the Government’s commitment to the parallel development of publicly funded and self-financing post-secondary education to provide youngsters with quality, flexible and diversified study pathways.


“I trust the self-financing post-secondary sector would continue to play a pivotal role in nurturing talent to support Hong Kong's manpower needs and its further development into an international hub for post-secondary education," she added.


CIHE is the fourth self-financing post-secondary education institution granted a university title. In line with the revised roadmap for post-secondary colleges to become private universities as published in 2015, the Government has taken relevant factors into account for granting CIHE a university title.


These factors include: the institute’s breadth of programmes, research capability, size and scale as well as its governance and management, financial sustainability, academic environment and quality assurance.


To assess its readiness to become a private university, CIHE invited the Council for Accreditation of Academic & Vocational Qualifications (CAAVQ) to undertake an institutional review in 2022. The council concluded that it met the standards expected of a private university.


In the 2023-24 academic year, CIHE operated 13 self-financing locally accredited post-secondary programmes, comprising 12 bachelor's degree programmes and one master's degree programme with about 3,000 full-time and 500 part-time students.


CIHE will be required to submit a progress report together with an audited financial report to the Education Bureau annually to ensure its teaching quality and financial sustainability.


The bureau has commissioned the CAAVQ to review the reports and provide it with independent expert advice.

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