Postlude to Section C

In this section we have described the present state of higher education in Hong Kong primarily in terms of the level, content and style of the courses which are offered. We have looked at the provision of undergraduate courses, sub-degree courses, taught postgraduate courses and research degrees in some detail, but we have not yet philosophized about why they exist. We have spent less time on research, whose purpose and place will require exploration in Chapters 28 and 29, and on continuing and professional education, to which we are devoting Section E. Issues of quality have been reserved for Section D which follows. We have looked at the providers and users of higher education - the staff and students - and the physical surroundings in which higher education takes place - the buildings and plant - but we have not discussed the costs of the activity. The financial implications of higher education will be dealt with in Section G. Our study has been of the system as a whole, and we have not discussed in detail the role of individual institutions.

By and large, higher education in Hong Kong has weathered the substantial changes and upheavals which we described in Chapters 7 and 8 remarkably well. It has grown very markedly without losing close personal involvement of staff and student and with little diminution of quality as higher education has been extended to a much larger fraction of Hong Kong's population (see also paragraph 30.10). Today we have a lull in growth and can take stock, as we have just done, of what has been achieved. The pause is, however, temporary and possibly illusory. Even without absolute growth, higher education is always changing and adapting to new needs and circumstances. That searching for new roles and new knowledge is part of Horace's eternal quest : "To seek for truth in the groves of Academe". In succeeding sections we shall begin to suggest how that quest is to be maintained in the future.

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