Home > UGC Publications > Speeches and Articles > 2004 > Speech by Dr. Alice Lam, JP, Chairman, University Grants Committee at the First Assembly & Presentation of the Distinguished Teacher Awards of the Hong Kong Institute of Education (8.9.2004)

Speech by Dr. Alice Lam, JP, Chairman, University Grants Committee at the First Assembly & Presentation of the Distinguished Teacher Awards of the Hong Kong Institute of Education

Dear Professor Morris, Vice-Presidents, teachers, students, ladies and gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to speak to you on this special occasion when we celebrate two important events for the Institute. First, to the new students, I must congratulate you on your successful entry into the Institute. Second, to the awardee and the recipients of Certificate of Merit of the Distinguished Teacher Awards, I congratulate you on your outstanding achievements in teaching and scholarship related to teaching and learning.

To all of you, I must say that I am very proud of you as members of this young and energetic Institute. I know that you are now celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Institute. Ten years is really a very short period of time, but the accomplishments of this Institute have been most encouraging. For example, the Panel of the Teaching and Learning Quality Process Review was favorably impressed with the successful process of upgrading undertaken by the Institute since its establishment in 1994. In January 2003, the Panel highly commended the quality assurance mechanism and processes of the Institute and made a very positive report on the Education Quality Work of the Institute.

In some ways more importantly, the Institute also successfully went through the Institutional Review for self-accreditation conducted by the UGC in October 2003. The panel stated that "the HKIEd has reached the level of maturity and effectiveness at which it is appropriate to transfer accreditation from external agencies to the institution itself". The Government granted self-accrediting status to HKIEd from 1 May 2004.

You may ask, 'What is the significance of self-accrediting status for the Institute?' The expectations of a self-accrediting institution are that it has its own set of standards for the quality of its academic programmes and the operation of the institution as a whole. These standards, while locally developed and formulated, must also align with those of the field and be benchmarked against those of comparable institutions within Hong Kong and internationally.

The UGC is committed to the improvement of higher education and the development of teacher education in Hong Kong. The UGC's Working Group on Role Differentiation has drawn up a role statement for each UGC-funded institution published in the document "Hong Kong Higher Education: To Make a Difference, To Move with the Times". The role statement for the HKIEd confirms the distinctive role of the Institute as the major teacher education provider in Hong Kong. Studying at HKIEd, you will have the chance to receive a high quality education and professional preparation. I warmly commend HKIEd's dedication to nurture knowledgeable, caring and responsible teachers to serve the needs of Hong Kong.

I think that all professionals should be ready to accept challenges in these times of rapid change. To prepare yourself as a professional teacher in kindergartens, primary or secondary schools, or in other teaching settings, you will be learning about the major education reforms announced some time ago and the details of which the Government will consult the public within this year. These reforms cover curricula and assessment mechanisms as well as the admission systems for different stages of education. They will have a major impact on schools and their success will require support from all our teachers. The community has high expectations of its teachers, especially those who represent the new generation of graduates who have the opportunity to serve as major agents of change. To prepare for the challenges brought by all these reforms, you must make good use of the time in the coming few years to develop yourself academically, socially, emotionally and spiritually for this profession.

The word 'learn' means gaining knowledge of or skill in something, by study, practice or being taught. The word 'teach' traditionally means giving instruction to somebody or causing somebody to know or be able to do something. From this, learning sounds like a process of inputting knowledge and skill while teaching sounds like a process of output of knowledge and skill by the teacher. Basically the assumption is that you learn when you are a student and you teach when you are a teacher. However, it is clear that this assumption is no longer applicable to today's world of evolving change. We must be both a learner and a teacher all the time throughout our lives. The input and output process should always interact with each other. As a student of this Institute which specializes in teacher education, I know that you will have plenty of opportunities to explore and investigate the real meaning of teaching and learning. After all, the true professional teacher is one who is reflective, analytic and recognises that he or she can learn from those they teach. A good teacher is therefore constantly learning.

Finally, I want to say that I am really impressed by the way in which the Institute places a strong emphasis on the quality of teaching. As you have seen, today is also the presentation ceremony for distinguished teachers and combining it with the First Assembly is a reflection of how it is valued. There is no doubt in my mind that these teachers who are recognized by us today are role models for all of us here. May I again congratulate Dr. Mok, as the recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award and Dr. Volk, Dr. Yu and Mrs. Yung for their recognition with Certificates of Merit.

Let me conclude by again saying how much of a pleasure it is for me to share this first assembly and distinguished teacher awards with you on the Institute's 10th Anniversary. Quality teacher education is vital to the continued development of Hong Kong and the Institute is seen by UGC as the major contributor to that quality.

Thank you.