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UGC report on HKIEd's Development Blueprint submitted

The University Grants Committee (UGC) submitted to the Government today (February 17) its review report on the Development Blueprint of the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd). The Chairman of the UGC, The Hon. Mrs Laura M. Cha, made the following statement upon submission of the report.

"The UGC is pleased to submit its Review Report to the Administration today, following a rigorous and interactive review process in the past year or so. Our Review Group has actively engaged the HKIEd management in the process, and solicited views from the students, staff and alumni representatives of the Institute, and other stakeholder groups."

"When evaluating the proposals in HKIEd's Development Blueprint, our starting point was the aspiration to enhance teacher education in Hong Kong and to promote excellence in our local higher education sector. It is paramount that the future development of the Institute will best serve the interests of the Hong Kong community. The question of university title was examined in this context," stressed the UGC Chairman.

Mrs Cha commended HKIEd for having attained substantial progress and standing over the years, and remarked that the Institute should leverage on such strength to advance to a new level of achievement in providing the best education to our future teachers. "From our research on the prevailing transformation routes taken by most teacher education institutions across different continents and cultures, we observed that developing a multi-disciplinary learning environment and strong research capacity are two of the keys to enhancing teacher education. One of our recommendations is therefore for HKIEd to give priority to: the strategic development of teacher education in Hong Kong; the development of additional disciplines that are complementary to education; and the development of research and a research training environment", said Mrs Cha. She observed that these latter features are also two common attributes of universities around the world.

Mrs Cha said, "To effect the necessary multi-disciplinarity and research development, we suggest two options for HKIEd (and the Government) to consider: (1) through development into a stand alone institution with such attributes; or (2) by partnering with an existing university," the Chairman of the UGC said.

Mrs. Cha added, "HKIEd students will benefit the most from a multi-disciplinary environment. Not only will they become more adaptive to the ever changing classroom upon graduation, they will also be better equipped to tackle real life problems and guide our younger generation in meeting future challenges. They will also have greater flexibility in their career choices. This is in line with the spirit of Hong Kong's current education reform."

The UGC Chairman said, "I would like to thank HKIEd for putting in tremendous effort in preparing the Blueprint, and providing us with additional material during the course of the review. We are pleased that the current President's articulation of "Education Plus", as well as his drive to improve the research capacity of HKIEd, coincide well with our recommendations for HKIEd's future development towards the direction of multi-disciplinarity and stronger research capability. I believe if HKIEd sharpens its focus and actively acquires these attributes, the institution would be able to put a stronger case to the Government for an university title in the future. We have full confidence in their potentials." She said that the UGC would endeavour to provide all appropriate support and expert advice to HKIEd as it considers its way forward.

The Government invited the UGC to provide expert views on the proposals in HKIEd's Development Blueprint in August 2007. The UGC forthwith established a Review Group convened by Professor John Niland, a senior overseas UGC member to undertake the necessary review work. The review report in English and Chinese is accessible at the UGC website, www.ugc.edu.hk.

Ends/Tuesday, February 17, 2009