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Public Policy Research - Layman summaries of projects funded in 5th Round

HKBU 2001-PPR-5
The Problems and the Solutions to E-waste Generation and Disposal in Hong Kong
PI: Dr Shan-shan Chung

This study consists of conducting a series of electrical and electronic products waste (e-waste) quantification survey, including a household questionnaire survey, an e-waste trader survey and a e-waste disposal survey, a regulatory impact assessment and a risk assessment on current e-waste recycling plant in Hong Kong. The quantification of e-waste arising provides the basis for e-waste take-back, reconditioning and recycling infrastructure planning as well as the financial planning of future e-waste control regime in Hong Kong. Insights from the regulatory impact assessment will mitigate the negative effects of government intervention into the private sectors, and will increase the aggregated benefit of the policy on the society. The recommendation, based on the data and analyses from this study, will assist in formulating a realistic and effective regulatory regime for managing e-waste in Hong Kong.

HKBU 2003-PPR-5
Specifying Hong Kong university students' core English competency: Language education and planning
PI: Dr Lee Fung-king, Cynthia

Analyzing the four groups of stakeholders' perceptions on the importance of a wide range of English language skills for different communicative purposes by means of questionnaires and follow-up interviews, as well as undergraduates' diaries and recorded interactions with English speakers, the project proposes offering at least nine credit-bearing English language skills courses consisting of three core competencies for study, work and intercultural communication purposes in the new 334 curriculum. In addition to the prevalent English language courses for study and work purposes, the third core competence is significant as it addresses the ability to use English as a lingua franca from a global perspective and to reflect on the way in which the language shapes and reshapes an undergraduate's identity and world view. Hong Kong universities who are in the process of revamping their language policy and English language curriculum should contemplate the function of language and role of intercultural communicative competence in their language policy and curriculum. Equipping undergraduates with adequate English skills for intercultural communication and raising their awareness of this area of competence prepares them for internationalization.

LU 3002-PPR-5
Hong Kong as an International Financial Centre for China and for the World
PI: Prof Ping Lin

The financial sector is central to Hong Kong, and Hong Kong is a well known financial centre in the world. Quite fittingly, much world-class research on the performance of financial markets has been done by Hong Kong academics. Nevertheless, little systematic research is available on the location of financial activity and success of financial centres. This project offered a first systematic analysis of the strengths and weaknesses, competitiveness and strategic needs of Hong Kong as an international financial centre. It involved:

- Statistical research separating market growth from competitive gains in Hong Kong's financial growth; on the determinants of IPO location choices; and on bank regulations and performance;

- Two opinion surveys among financial leaders on Hong Kong as IFC and among investors in the mainland as users of international financial services; and,

- A Policy Report based on the above, supplementary research, and extensive interviews with industry leaders, giving an in-depth view on six sectors particular central to Hong Kong including its role in RMB internationalization and a critical look at its financial regulations and supervision.

Our research reveals that HK is indeed an impressive financial centre but much less international (and more China-centred) than is commonly believed and than Singapore is. A number of priority areas and recommendations for policy action are offered.

HKIEd 8001-PPR-5
Hong Kong Students' Attitudes to Citizenship: Monitoring Progress Ten years after Hong Kong's Return to China
PI: Prof Kerry J Kennedy

The citizenship attitudes of any society's young people will play an important role in determining the future quality of that society - its values, its commitments and its capacity for recognizing the contributions that all citizens can make. In this study the citizenship attitudes of young Hong Kong people have been assessed and measured over time. The results of the study indicated that Hong Kong adolescents recognize their rights and obligations as citizens, the importance of the law in the life of the community and their national identity as Chinese citizens. They have a growing commitment to democracy, significant levels of political trust in key institutions and the intention to be civically engaged in conventional political activities as well as socially oriented community activities. These values are developed in multiple ways - the media plays important and often conflicting roles in political socialization, discussions with peers and parents about politics are important and civic knowledge itself is important but its impact is not always predictable. In general, under Chinese sovereignty Hong Kong students have moved in a positive direction consistent with the Territory's aspiration and the Basic Law's prescription for electoral democracy and engaged citizenship.

HKIEd 8004-PPR-5
Improving Vocational Outcomes for Hong Kong's Social and Economic Development: A Role for Vocational Teacher Education
PI: Prof Richard Gordon Bagnall

The PI left the University in July 2009 and the project was terminated.

HKIEd 8006-PPR-5
Enhancing the Quality of Learning and Teaching in Hong Kong Early Childhood Education: Meeting the Challenges of the New Policy
PI: Dr Pui Wah Doris Cheng

'Play' is a valued element of ECE throughout the world. In 1986, the Hong Kong government adopted play as a central learning and teaching pedagogy in ECE with a view to altering the prevailing traditional teacher-centered practice found in those days. Yet, the implementation gap has been repeatedly identified in the government's quality assurance inspection reports as well as by local research. In 2007, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong committed HK$2 billion to enhance the quality of ECE by introducing the Pre-primary Education Voucher Scheme (PEVS). This policy enables parents with children in PEVS schools to receive a school fee subsidy and provides financial resources for the professional development of teachers on the condition that the preschools undergo quality assurance inspections from 2012. The current study focused on identifying the root causes of the gap that exists between the official expectations of quality pedagogy and the day-to-day practice in Hong Kong classrooms. The findings revealed the embedded issues involved in child-centered, play-based practice in this region. The features devised from the exemplars of play-based practice identified locally can support the government in formulating context-sensitive guidelines and effective strategies for pre-primary institutions to carry out developmentally appropriate quality practices for young children in Hong Kong.

PolyU 5002-PPR-5
Bilateral Liberalization of International Air Transport - An Economic and Public Policy Study for HKSAR
PI: Dr Xiaowen Fu

Air transport is of critical importance to Hong Kong's economy. It not only directly contributes to the production of logistics services, but also provides essential inputs to other sectors such as tourism and trade sectors. It is of paramount importance that Hong Kong maintains its position as the region's premier aviation hub. Since all aviation services in Hong Kong are international, they are regulated by bilateral air services agreements (ASA) between Hong Kong and other countries. Local air service providers, such as airlines, airport and logistics firms, will be significantly affected by any change in international air transport policy adopted by the HKSAR government, China's central government and neighboring countries. To design aviation policies which are optimal for Hong Kong, policy makers should have factual numbers on the benefits and costs of alternative policies on bilateral ASAs. To examine and assess HK's approach to the liberalization of bilateral ASAs, this study has modeled market equilibrium with and without air transport liberalization. The model is applied to the regional aviation market thus that the effects of alternative policies on key stakeholders in each country can be quantified. In particular, our framework also considered the effects of airport capacity constraint in the liberalization process. This study provides a comprehensive research framework in general, and practical policy implications and suggestions to the policy makers in the regional in particular.

HKU 7001-PPR-5
A study on effectiveness of integrated home care service in community care for elderly people in Hong Kong
PI: Dr Ernest Wing Tak Chui

This study reveals that there are 'hidden' needs for more intensive Long Term Care services amongst community-living elderly people in Hong Kong. This could possibly be attributed to problems of ignorance amongst the elderly (and their family members) and/or the inadequacy of the service delivery system. This could probably pose a serious problem of rendering the frail elderly people subject to potential risks like household accidents. The current system of not administering the Standardized Care Need Assessment to these Integrated Home Care Ordinary Cases could be problematic in 'concealing' the hidden needs of frail community-living elderly. There is no significant difference between the two groups of samples studied in terms of the rate of hospitalization and physical deterioration. This could be postulated that the IHC service has not effectively contributed to postponing the health deterioration of community-living elderly people. The users were generally very satisfied with the quality of IHC service. Osteoporosis, Emphysema/COPD/Asthma, Edema, fall within 90 days of interview, ADL impairment, incontinence and cognitive problem were identified as the possible risk factors contributing to the deterioration of elderly. This might have implications on primary health care service in detecting the potential threat to physical health of the elderly population.

HKU 7002-PPR-5
Consultation mechanism and processes in major public works and in urban planning and redevelopment
PI: Dr Chi Kwong Law

The study identified the extent to which the consultative practices of the past not meeting the expectations of the public. In the cases studied, we can identify changes in the consultation process and attempts made to improve the effectiveness of the process. The study identified some of the changed needed to the existing the consultation protocols in an attempt to develop mutual trust, to increase the sense of ownership and to engage the public.

HKU 7008-PPR-5
The Legal and Policy Implications of Establishing the Communications Authority in Hong Kong
PI: Dr Richard Wai Sang Wu

The study identified the extent to which the consultative practices of the past not meeting the expectations of the public. In the cases studied, we can identify changes in the consultation process and attempts made to improve the effectiveness of the process. The study identified some of the changed needed to the existing the consultation protocols in an attempt to develop mutual trust, to increase the sense of ownership and to engage the public.

HKU 7010-PPR-5
Review of animal welfare legislation in Hong Kong
PI: Ms Amanda Sarah Whitfort

This review has identified that Hong Kong's anti cruelty legislation, Cap 169, as currently drafted, is unable to assist animals in danger and distress. Widespread reforms of cruelty laws in other jurisdictions have addressed this problem. This review recommends significant reform, through the introduction of a new Animal Welfare Ordinance, imposing a positive duty of care on all persons in charge of animals.

This review also finds that licensing conditions for pet shops are seriously out of date with modern welfare science and a lack of legislation controlling hobby breeders allows animals of dubious origin and health to be widely sold.

This review notes serious failures, at local slaughterhouses, to meet animal welfare standards prescribed by the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code 2009 (slaughter of Animals).

This review highlights the complete failure of current legislation to recognize the animal welfare requirements of most animals kept on local farms and sold at wet markets.

This review rejects possible legal impediments to a government approved trap neuter return programme for feral dogs in Hong Kong.

This review identifies that inadequate regulatory powers for enforcement bodies, inadequate use of powers which are already available, and insufficiently deterrent sentencing of offenders, by the courts of Hong Kong currently combine to undermine legislative protection of animals.

This review provides recommendations for extensive amendment to laws, regulations and codes of welfare affecting animals in Hong Kong.