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Welcoming Remarks by Chairman, UGC at the Presentation Ceremony of the 2016 UGC Teaching Award (8.9.2016)

2016 UGC Teaching Award - 8 September 2016
Welcoming Remarks by Chairman, University Grants Committee
via Video Recording

Council Chairmen, Heads of Universities, Honourable Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening. Welcome to the annual award presentation ceremony of the University Grants Committee (UGC) Teaching Award. By the time you watch this video, I would have been out of Hong Kong in the United Kingdom for a family trip scheduled some time ago. So first of all, I want to apologise for not being able to join you all to celebrate this year's award presentation in my capacity as Chairman of the UGC.

2. The annual UGC Teaching Award is an important event in the UGC sector. The Award was introduced in 2011 to honour those who excel in teaching in the UGC sector. So far, 13 outstanding academics in the UGC-funded universities have received the award. This year, we have extended the award to cover team teaching, and set up a new category to recognise faculty in their early career who demonstrate promise in teaching. I hope the expansion of the award will encourage faculty at all levels to focus more on teaching and achieve excellence.

3. As you all know, UGC attaches great importance to teaching and learning. In the last triennium, we launched a funding scheme to support universities' proposals that could help meet the learning needs of the new generation of students of this information age and enhance students' learning experience. We have received overwhelming support from universities. A total of 23 projects received funding support amounted to $124 million under the scheme.

4. We have then reviewed the various teaching and learning initiatives with a view to encouraging universities to think out of the box and introduce collaborative initiatives for sector-wide impact. As a result of the review, and in response to the overwhelming support from universities to the previous funding scheme, we have decided to streamline and consolidate some initiatives into a new funding scheme which has just been launched in this triennium. The new scheme aims to incentivise universities in exploring and developing further in the sector-wide strategic areas. It covers the themes of Innovation; Enhancement of the student learning experience; Enhancement of internationalisation and engagement with Mainland China; and Language enhancement, which are areas important to enriching students' learning experience.

5. Under the four themes, we would like to encourage universities to explore ways to make good use of innovative teaching and learning pedagogies. As the first cohort of students of the four-year curriculum has just graduated, we see this an opportune time for universities to reflect on their experience with a view to further enhancing students' learning experience. Internationalisation and engagement with Mainland China are the key to Hong Kong's future, and therefore we believe that they should be actively pursued by our universities. We also accord high priority to enhancing students' language proficiency, which is an essential quality for a globally competitive graduate.

6. Compared to the last round, UGC's contribution for the funding scheme in this triennium has been increased to $140 million. Together with universities' contribution, the funding scheme will be able to support projects with a total project cost of about $200 million. I appeal for universities' support, and I look forward to receiving their proposals.

7. The past year was a fruitful year for the UGC sector. We celebrated the 50th anniversary of UGC. The Education University of Hong Kong has been awarded university title. All of our universities have been ranked strongly both internationally and in the region. UGC, as a buffer between the Government and universities, will continue to work closely with all stakeholders for an even brighter future for Hong Kong's higher education sector. Tonight is an opportunity to celebrate our achievements as a sector; especially the part played by our teachers.

8. It is now time for me to extend to all nominees and awardees my warmest congratulations. I also wish to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the universities, as well as the Chairman and Members of the Selection Panel for making this year's Award a success.

9. Lastly, I wish you all an enjoyable evening. I wish the universities and academics a successful academic year ahead. Thank you.