The leaders of eight Hong Kong universities have said they will donate portions of their salaries to help their institutions weather the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The president and vice-presidents of the University of Hong Kong, Polytechnic, Lingnan, Education and Open universities said they would donate 10% of their annual salaries to combat challenges ushered in by the coronavirus.

Among heads to have committed to salary deductions is that of City University, which has also warned of a freeze to staff salaries next year due to a drop in revenues.

Hong Kong university leaders’ pledges came as thousands of universities across the world were closed by governments amid efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19, which has infected millions of people and killed hundreds of thousands since it was discovered in Wuhan, China, late last year.  

Universities in Hong Kong and elsewhere anticipate financial difficulties as Covid-19 has thrown into flux the plans of domestic and lucrative international students, who pay higher fees to study in universities situated outside their home countries. A recent survey found that over a third of prospective international students were considering changing their overseas study plans in light of the pandemic.

“The pandemic has been seriously affecting all businesses, and we are particularly concerned with the financial challenges faced by some of our students and their families due to the current situation,” said PolyU president Professor Teng Jin-guang. The university leaders’ decisions were reported by the South China Morning Post