UGC meets Senate on higher education review

Zoey Tsang

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The University Grants Committee (UGC) met with Members of City University of Hong Kong (CityU) Senate on 30 June. It was a UGC initiative to engage in direct dialogue with the higher education sector, explain the work of the UGC and listen to the Senate members’ thoughts on the committee as well as the Higher Education Review 2010.

The Hon Mrs Laura Cha, UGC Chairman, began the meeting with a presentation to the University Senate members on the UGC’s role and functions. Among those present were Senate Chairman Professor Way Kuo, CityU President, and other senate members, including senior management, chair professors, department heads and staff from different colleges, schools and departments. Professor Jack Cheng Chun-yiu and Professor Edmond Ko Inq-ming, UGC members, Mrs Dorothy Ma Chow Pui-fun and Ms Jenny Yip Kam-ching, Acting Secretary-Generals of UGC Secretariat, were also at the meeting to exchange views with CityU members.

Mrs Cha introduced the UGC’s terms of reference, mission statement and committee composition. “The UGC’s mission is to preserve institutional autonomy and academic freedom with appropriate public accountability,” said Mrs Cha. She also recapped on the UGC grant cycle and estimated grants of UGC funded institutions for the triennium 2009 - 2012.

Mrs Cha explained several major UGC developments, including “3+3+4” educational reform, research promotion, quality assurance and internationalisation.

“We are very happy that the government has approved the $18 billion Research Endowment Fund and appreciate that our government has shown support for research,” Mrs Cha said. “We frequently hear comments from academics about the allocation and assessment of research funding. These are the areas we will be sure to take into consideration in our review of the allocation of research funding”

A Higher Education Review Group, chaired by Sir Colin Lucas, the Vice-chancellor of Oxford University from 1997 - 2004, has been formed to conduct the Higher Education Review 2010. The group has already met the heads of the eight higher institutions in Hong Kong and the next step will be to meet the staff and students.

The purpose of the review is to assist the government and the public to reflect on the purposes of higher education, perceived world trends, and the vision and strategies for Hong Kong’s higher education system. “This is a forward-looking document. We would like the review to be fully informed by views from all relevant stakeholders,” Mrs Cha added. The report is expected to be published next year.

After the presentation, UGC also addressed a number of issues raised by Senate members in regard to interdisciplinary research facilitation, CityU’s role and mission, shortage of student residence and university accountability.


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