Credit Accumulation and Transfer (CAT)

CAT facilitates the recognition of units of learning and allows learners to move from one programme to another without having to duplicate learning. In theory this allows learners to gain a qualification having undertaken study (and hence having been awarded QF credits) at different places and in different learning contexts at different time. This learning may have been formal, non-formal or informal. Provided that the learning outcomes can be properly validated and assessed they should be eligible for recognition.

The Policy, Principles and Operational Guidelines for CAT under Qualifications Framework in Hong Kong has been introduced to facilitate the recognition and transfer of credits, minimise repeated learning, and provide effective support for lifelong learning.

Benefits of CAT

  Benefits to learners 
  • Helps eliminate unfair or unnecessary barriers that impede access to learning and minimises the need for any repetition of learning already achieved.
  • Recognises the learning outcomes of modular-based or unit-based learning and allows the accumulation of credits earned for such learning.
  • Permits learners to move in and out of formal education and to engage in workplace training in the knowledge that credit previously earned will be taken into account in the future.
  • Provides flexibility to learners allowing them to study at times and places to suit their life pattern and personal circumstances, thereby providing more opportunities for employees to participate in lifelong learning.
  • Enables learners to calibrate their expectations more realistically and map out their study plans accordingly. Learners will better understand the value of what they are studying/have studied and how it fits into the framework of qualifications.
  Benefits to education and training providers
  • Enables institutions to attract new pools of learners and previously dormant learners to rejoin the education system.
  • Encourages a more holistic approach to qualification planning and development and better communication between individual institutions and across sectors.
  • Encourages inter-institutional cooperation in programme design and delivery.

Policy and Principles for CAT

CAT policy should be formulated with a view to promoting learner mobility across sectors, levels and types of qualifications by minimising duplication of learning.
Systems and procedures developed in institutions to support CAT should be transparent, fair, flexible and easy to use.
Decisions regarding credit transfer should be timely, academically defensible, equitable and based on learning outcomes.
Credit awarded in recognition of prior non-formal and informal learning is of equal standing to credit awarded through other forms of assessment.
In line with the concept of institutional autonomy, CAT shall not affect the authority of a receiving institution to make decisions about the admission of learners. There is a distinction between the separate processes of admission and credit transfer.
Credit recognition and credit transfer should not undermine the academic rigour or integrity of the qualification into which the learner is accepted.
Institutional commitment and cooperation are essential for the optimal functionality of CAT.
CAT systems and procedures should be subject to rigorous quality assurance measures.