CityU holds symposium on the first year experience

Ellen Chan

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City University of Hong Kong (CityU) hosted the ninth in a series of 3+3+4 symposia, on the topic of "First Year Experience", on 28 April at the Wei Hing Theatre. The Symposium focused on how students' first year experience at university can be enhanced to foster learning and development.

Mr Michael Stone, Secretary-General of the University Grants Committee (UGC), and Professor Chan Chi-hou, Acting President of CityU, officiated at the Symposium.

In a speech to the gathering, Mr Stone said a good transition and a good beginning in the first year will prepare students for success in their university studies and a happy and fulfilling university life. "This will foster students' learning and development, so that they can get the most out of the university," Mr Stone said.

He said that educational practitioners in the universities need to understand the challenges that students face and the common transition problems they encounter, so that they can provide all necessary support to the students to ensure a smooth transition and help them to succeed.

"Broadening cultural, political, social interactions and curricula will be important to shape students to look beyond Hong Kong," Mr Stone said. He added that an effective engagement, knowledge transmission and assessment procedures should be introduced to prepare the new and young generation to be able to write intelligently and discursively.

In his opening remarks, Professor Chan said that the 3+3+4 reform correctly anticipated the future, which will demand graduates with broader-based knowledge. "Consequently the 3+3+4 project has provided us with a wonderful opportunity to redesign our curriculum to ensure that we give a more student-centred and globalised learning environment for our young people," Professor Chan said.

He pointed out that the 3+3+4 reform is not just adding another year of study in the university, but a total reform of the whole four-year learning experience. "It helps to ensure that Hong Kong graduates will remain fully prepared for increasingly multi-disciplinary work and have the ability to quickly adapt and acquire new skills," Professor Chan added.

Professor Chan said that learning and teaching methods are also being remodelled to provide new opportunities for experiential learning through a wide range of internship and other work-related experiences. This will help to equip students to be more effective in the workforce and to identify and apply values and beneficial experiences from the classroom to their real life experience.

In preparing for the implementation of the 3+3+4 reform, the Heads of Universities Committee (HUCOM) is organising a series of 12 symposia under the sponsorship of the UGC, to provide a platform for discussion among education professionals and different sectors of the community. CityU's symposium is the ninth in this series.

Other participants from CityU included Professor Paul Lam Kwan-sing, Vice-President (Student Affairs); Professor Lilian Vrijmoed Kwan Lee-ping, Advisor to the Vice-President (Student Affairs) on Student Learning; and Mr Joseph Chan Kai-nin, Director of Student Development Services.

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