CityU offered the Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine programme in 2017, and the first batch of graduates will graduate this year, but the relevant bachelor's degree is not recognised for registration under the Veterinary Surgeons Authority (Veterinary Registration) Rules, which means that the relevant graduates may not be able to become registered veterinarians.
Mr Cheng Bo-chung, Chairman of the Veterinary Authority, said CityU had invited accreditation from relevant qualification bodies in Australia and the United Kingdom, and the review process was expected to be completed this month. He pointed out that if CityU is successfully accredited and reports to the Veterinary Surgeon Authority, the Board will add CityU's Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine to the accreditation registration as soon as possible, hoping for a seamless transition."
However, if CityU fails to obtain the relevant certification, how will the Authority respond? Mr Cheng said that CityU would think about the issues on its own, "although I have confidence in CityU's curriculum." CityU's response to the inquiry simply stated that the programme is undergoing accreditation and that the student has not yet graduated.
The first batch of 12 students graduated this year The Australian-British institution completed the course review this month
Hong Kong did not have a local Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine programme until CityU officially launched a six-year Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine programme in 2017, with the first batch of 12 graduates graduating this year. However, a review of the Veterinary Surgeons Board (Veterinary Registration) Rules shows that the CityU Fellowship Programme is not eligible for registration, which means that the graduates concerned may not be able to become registered veterinarians.
Mr Cheng Pak Chung, Chairman of the Veterinary Surgeon Authority, explained that even if the Authority does not approve qualifications, even if it believes in the level of locally trained courses, in order to ensure a certain level of registered veterinary medicine, it generally requires the courses taken by the relevant persons to be certified by international bodies before they can be registered as veterinarians in Hong Kong. He cited CityU as well aware of the requirements when it started its courses, and that the university had already invited the relevant qualifications of the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to accredit the courses, which would also review the courses last month and this month respectively.
Mr Cheng added that the Veterinary Authority had discussed the situation at CityU earlier and had set a timetable for the Board to hold a meeting as soon as possible to discuss the inclusion of CityU's Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine in the accreditation registration. He hopes to achieve a "seamless handover" so that this year's graduates do not have a "window period" to enter the local veterinary job market.
CityU launched the Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine programme in 2017, and the first batch of graduates will graduate this year. (Profile photo/Photo by Zhang Haowei)
Cheng Bozhong: I hope that veterinary surgeons in Hong Kong will reach international standards
Asked how CityU would respond if it failed to obtain the relevant accreditation? Mr Cheng said that CityU would think about the issues on its own, "although I have confidence in CityU's curriculum." He reiterated that the Authority's relevant request was not intended to exclude new courses, but rather that veterinary surgeons in Hong Kong could maintain international standards.
He also revealed that in the past, not all courses with overseas accreditation qualifications were eligible for accreditation and registration, and the Board would still make a decision based on the language of the courses. As for whether it will consider that the course will no longer be limited to accredited registration by international institutions such as the United Kingdom, the United States, New Zealand and Australia, he reiterated that he could not answer what did not happen, "but I think I will definitely watch it."
Eleven fresh graduates have gone on to undertake internships in the AFCD
The reporter asked CityU about the current progress of course accreditation and CityU's response if it failed to obtain accreditation, and the university said that the programme was undergoing accreditation and the students had not yet graduated.
In 2021, the Veterinary Surgeon Authority proposed amendments to the Veterinary Registration Ordinance to allow veterinary course students to perform veterinary surgical acts under the supervision of registered veterinarians, and veterinary students must seek the consent of the animal owner before taking any exempted action on behalf of an animal, and the registered veterinarian must be fully responsible for the actions carried out by persons under their direct and ongoing supervision. Mr Cheng revealed that 11 fresh graduates had already undertaken internships with the AFCD, including the Veterinary Laboratory and the Animal Import and Export Quarantine of the AFCD.
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