it comes to higher education, there is a wide range of stakeholders - the institutional management, staff and students, parents and
employers, the Government, the media and the community at large. The
UGC works in partnership with stakeholders on sector-wide issues,
including resource allocation and strategic development. Effective
communication with stakeholders and transparency are very important.
Communication brings transparency. It is important that our
stakeholders understand accurately the functions and operation of the
UGC, and for the UGC to understand our stakeholders' views on the UGC
decisions and policies.
In 2009, the UGC set up a dedicated
Communications Group to look into all matters concerning public
relations and publicity in respect of the activities of the Committee
and the UGC-funded sector, with the objective of fostering better
understanding and communication between the UGC and the community in
general, and the relevant professions/sectors in particular.
Effective communication with the
various stakeholder groups often takes different forms. We have been
exploring new ways of engaging the stakeholders, they include:
(A) Institutional Management
UGC works in close partnership with institutions to ensure that they
provide excellent teaching and quality research commensurate with
their roles. We have meetings - regular and ad hoc, formal and
informal - with the Heads and Council Chairmen of the eight funded
institutions to exchange our thinking and suggestions on various
subjects of mutual concern. Indeed, we attach great importance to the
views of the institutions. Last year, we invited the Heads of
Institutions each to suggest two key areas where they thought the UGC
could improve. The full UGC considered these carefully and we are
taking forward as many of them as we can.
(B) Institutional Staff
dialogue with the institutions does not confine itself to interacting
with their management. For example, in 2009, the Chairman briefed
members of the Senates/Academic Boards of all eight institutions on
the latest work of the UGC and to listen to their views on various
higher education issues.
particular, on 2 September 2009, we organised a consultation forum for
the staff at the Hong Kong Space Museum on the Higher Education Review
2010 (HER 2010) (and scheduled two more sessions for April 2010).
Their views have been very helpful to our understanding of
stakeholders' concerns on a wide range of issues relating to the
post-secondary education sector.
UGC strives to cultivate effective communication with the young
generation. Their views are very important to our work and much
treasured. We have a regular roster of visiting the eight
institutions, of which an important part is to meet with the students.
From 2004 onwards, the full UGC have been meeting the student
representatives of all UGC-funded institutions every year to exchange
views on topics of mutual concern. On 3 September 2009, we organised a
"Consultation Forum on HER 2010" at the Hong Kong Space Museum
and conducted in-depth discussions with students on the Higher
Education Review 2010. We are exploring new
ways to make our future meetings with students more relaxed and in
friendly environment with a view to enhancing interactive exchange
between Members and students.
The UGC stands ready to explain
various issues to the Legislative Council, such as capital projects
and institutional grievance procedures. The UGC had two rounds of
lunches with members of the Legislative Council Panel on Education in
2009 to enhance communication with the Panel and listen to their views
on various topics in relation to higher education. To enhance
communication with the Panel further, the Chairman of the UGC took the
initiative to attend before the Panel in January 2010 to brief its
members on different areas of work and current activities of the UGC.
With the escalating public
expectation on the responsiveness of public agencies, the cyber
network allows us to gather and disseminate information in a more
timely and instantaneous fashion. Given that the younger generation in
particular are more inclined to expressing their ideas online, the UGC
sees the Internet as a powerful means of
communication, on top of conventional channels. The UGC website
describes our roles, membership, activities, and the latest news.
There are also a "Frequently Asked Questions" section and a
Higher Education Forum, through which we welcome all parties including
students and staff to leave messages and share their opinions. We are
looking to make the website "fresher".
At the same time, the UGC also takes
the initiative to hold briefings with the media. After every UGC
meeting, the Chairman briefs the media to keep them informed of the
latest decisions and deliberations of the Committee.
The UGC is committed to openness,
transparency and accountability in promoting excellence in Hong Kong's higher education sector. To reach this goal, we will continue
to explore more effective and innovative ways to communicate with our
various stakeholders, and continuously seek ways to foster better
understanding and participation in the community.
Council Public Lecture on "Cancer Research" on 18 April