Promoting CityU to international leaders in education

Shirley Lam

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City University of Hong Kong (CityU) is taking an active role at the QS 3rd Asia Pacific Professional Leaders in Education Conference and Exhibition this week.

The aim is to promote the University’s image and build links with around 500 potential partners from 200 institutions in over 40 countries.

The External Liaison and Cooperation Office (ELCO) is coordinating CityU’s involvement in the three-day conference-cum-exhibition, which is organized by the QS Education Trust from 11 July to 13 July. QS Education Trust is a non-governmental, community-based provider of scholarships for higher education established in 2005. It organizes the annual QS Asia Pacific Professional Leaders in Education Conference to provide a platform for knowledge exchanges and networking.

Organized under the theme “Asian universities - promoting quality and equal opportunity through global partnership” this year, the Conference discusses a total of 63 topics including student exchange, corporate social responsibility, graduate employability, the importance of language, internationalizing the curriculum, marketing and recruitment, partnerships in action, and transnational education.

Professor Richard Ho Yan-ki, Acting President, gave a plenary address on 11 July entitled “Education and manpower development in China—challenges, issues, and implications to the rest of the world”.

In his talk, Professor Ho outlined factors that were creating China’s huge demand for education services, pointing out that such a demand was having a major impact on tertiary education in the region and the rest of the world.

These factors included the rapid rise of the middle class in China, the belief in education as a route to upward social mobility, the mainland’s one-child policy and the limitations of its central admissions system.

In addition, Professor Ho said, Chinese parents want their children to

have the best education offered in a safe place and at close proximity.

“Quality education in today’s world means ‘authentically global’ education opportunities,” he said. “Chinese parents want the chosen university to be a global village with English as the medium of instruction and the student body and faculty reflecting an international face. In other words, they want to enjoy the benefits of a quality western education without going to the West.”

Hong Kong, which aspires to be a regional education hub, is in the perfect position to meet such a demand, Professor Ho said, since it enjoys the advantages of cultural affinity, geographical proximity and a shared sense of nationhood, and it offers a safe environment in which to study.

But one of the key ingredients to becoming an education hub, Professor Ho continued, is language proficiency, and he warns that the mother-tongue language policy in Hong Kong is anti-global.

“A global worker needs to be communicative, collaborative and creative, which I call the ‘3Cs’ to success,” he said. “And language is critical to the mastery of the 3Cs.”

He also said that Hong Kong universities wish to see greater flexibility in admitting non-local students. He was in favour of raising the non-local student intake to 20% of student enrolments and accepting more postgraduate students from the mainland.

In addition, Professor Ho said, the digital revolution is accelerating China’s economic transformation at an exponential speed, creating a demand for a variety of human resource needs, and he calls upon regional peers to grasp the “golden opportunity” to collaborate and provide the best global quality education to meet these education needs.

Meanwhile, at the Hong Kong Briefings session on 12 July, Dr Zhu Guobin, ELCO Director, talked about the internationalization efforts undertaken by CityU. He said international networking helped achieve campus, university and higher education internationalization.

As part of the activities to promote the University, ELCO has been coordinating CityU’s participation in leading international fairs, be it for student recruitment or for international exchanges. The QS Conference is another platform to meet with potential partners and seek opportunities for student exchanges, said Dr Zhu.

“This conference gathers presidents and vice-presidents, directors of international offices of universities from all over the world, and thus provides a very good opportunity for CityU to build up relationships with universities worldwide and make our achievements known to, and recognized by, prominent international educators,” commented Professor Ho.

He encourages colleagues from administrative and academic departments, especially those who will be leading CityU to further promote internationalization and implement the four-year curriculum, to participate in more conferences of this kind.

The Conference is also providing an opportunity for about 20 CityU students to assist with delegate reception and registration, as well as to experience the atmosphere of an international conference.

The students’ professional attitude is garnering strong commendations from the organizers.

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