President Way Kuo talks about higher education at book launch
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At the invitation of Master-Insight Media, President Way Kuo of City University of Hong Kong launched his publication Soulware: The American Way in China’s Higher Education, Wiley, New Jersey, May 2019, at the Hong Kong Book Fair on 17 July.
The book has not yet been released in Hong Kong due to the pandemic, but it has already been translated into Japanese and published in Tokyo. All royalties from these publications are donated to student scholarships.
After delivering a speech titled “What to do with higher education?”, President Kuo had a dialogue with media veteran Mr Man Cheuk-fei and responded to enthusiastic questions from the 100-strong audience. The mindset of policymakers, the enterprising sprit of society, and the attitudes of educators all matter to “soulware”, President Kuo suggested.
The five key features of “soulware” presented in his book were discussed: the internationalisation of higher education, the integration of teaching and research, the separation of politics and education, quality and evaluation, and creativity and innovation.
He stressed that external politics should not disrupt university governance and that policymakers, members of the general public, and staff and students at a university should value professionalism and integrity.
A world-class university should strive for excellence in teaching and research, he added, arguing that in order to maintain its leadership in teaching and research, a university should accommodate a range of diverse views in the spirit of mutual respect and collegiality, uphold academic autonomy, and support staff and student to discuss opinions in a rational manner.
In addition, he identified certain problems in the higher education sector and proposed possible solutions, concluding his talk by reiterating the importance of “soulware” and true internationalisation in order to avoid being the frog at the bottom of the well.