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Hong Kong Higher Education - To Make a Difference, To Move with the Times

The Chairman of the University Grants Committee (UGC) Dr Alice Lam today (30 January 2004) said that the Committee would take a strategic approach to Hong Kong's higher education system, by developing an interlocking but differentiated system where the whole higher education sector would be viewed as one force in the regional and international arenas of higher education.

"Each institution should fulfill a unique role based on its strengths. The UGC values a role-driven yet deeply collaborative system of higher education where each institution has its own role and purpose, while at the same time being committed to extensive collaboration with other institutions," she stressed.

Speaking at a press conference to release the document on "Hong Kong Higher Education: To make a Difference, To Move with the Times", Dr Lam said, "the UGC firmly believes the higher education sector must play a key role in building Hong Kong as Asia's World City, driving forward the economic and social development of society and making Hong Kong the education hub in the region."

In 2002 the UGC promulgated the Higher Education Review which set out many broad recommendations at the strategic level pointing the way ahead for higher education in Hong Kong. Based on the Review, the Committee has now set out in the document how to achieve several of the aims contained in the Review.

"Hong Kong needs a higher education sector with institutions operating in distinctive but collaborative and complementary roles. I cannot emphasize enough that each institution should have its unique role and purpose, based on its strengths that will add value to the overall sector to become 'the education hub in the region', Dr Lam supplemented. "We believe this nurturing of the whole system will ultimately be more productive for Hong Kong."

In view of the level of international competition as well as the financial constraints that the higher education sector has to operate within, UGC also makes the point that it is important for all the institutions to undertake deep collaboration with other local and international institutions to achieve excellence and efficiency in deploying resources.

In response to enquiries, Dr Lam said "appropriate tools, mechanisms and incentives are being put in place by the UGC to steer institutions towards clear role differentiation, to facilitate deep collaboration among institutions in advancement of their respective roles, and to allow excellence to emerge through fair and constructive competition." Details of the relevant tools, mechanisms and incentives are set out in the document, which is uploaded on the UGC's website www.ugc.edu.hk.

Working with each and every institution, the UGC has recently completed a review of the role statements of the eight institutions under its purview, which reflects the policy to develop an interlocking yet differentiated higher education system. The Committee is also exploring institutional integration and the full report of the UGC Working Party on Institutional Integration will be issued in March 2004.

UGC Secretariat
30 January 2004

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