Speech at 40th anniversary celebration alumni dinner of The University of Kent
Speech by Arthur K C Li
Secretary for Education and Manpower
40th anniversary celebration alumni dinner of
Professor Melville, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to be with you this evening, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the
Achievements of the
Over the past four decades, the
As we applaud the remarkable achievement of the University, we cannot help but ask : what has made this possible? I believe an important reason for the University’s success is its unique international character. Kent U has made it a core strategic aim to establish close ties within
Nowadays, with increasing globalization and the new challenges it brings, internationalization of the student body is almost essential for any mature higher education system. Kent U has demonstrated its strength in this area;
Internationalisation efforts in
For this reason the Hong Kong SAR Government strongly encourages student exchanges, and facilitates the admission of non-local students to our higher education institutions. We impose no ceiling on the number of non-local research students, and we set aside places in our publicly-funded programmes for those coming for undergraduate studies. Recently, we have further relaxed immigration control in respect of the types of institutions and programmes that can admit non-local students, notably Mainland ones. Now our publicly-funded programmes can admit non-local students up to 10% of their student numbers.
Expansion of our post-secondary education sector
One of the reasons that made possible the admission of more non-local students to our post-secondary programmes is the rapid expansion of this sector which increased significantly the institutions’ recruitment capacity. Nowadays, 66% of our secondary school leavers can have access to post-secondary education – compared to around 33% five years ago. The major driving force behind this is the introduction of Associate Degree (or AD) into
If you browse the Education and Manpower Bureau’s website, you will see a full list of these courses run by 20 different service providers on a self-financing basis. All of them are quality-assured by recognized accrediting bodies. Our local universities, as well as some 150 institutions in 10 other regions or countries including the
While the AD equips graduates with skills that enable them to start their career as junior managers and associate professionals, naturally a lot of the graduates would like to pursue further studies. We are providing more senior year undergraduate places in government-funded institutions for their direct articulation, and the private market is doing the same. Nonetheless, for AD graduates who long for cultural exposure, overseas studies remains an attractive option. The UK universities have always been Hong Kong students’ popular choice for first degree studies, and I hope they will also be able to cater for the articulation needs of our AD graduates.
UK-Hong Kong cooperation in education
I am pleased that Hong Kong has continued to maintain a close relationship with the United Kingdom in terms of education cooperation. At the government level, the education authorities have established a regular liaison framework; and -- thanks to the Hong Kong British Council -- we have also identified scope for enhancing collaboration between institutions in the UK and those in Hong Kong. I am confident that, with the concerted efforts of the government as well as the education sector, both UK and Hong Kong will be able to reap the benefits of internationalization. In this exciting development, Kent U will no doubt continue to play a pivotal role.
Ladies and gentlemen, for a university that will last for generations, “forty years” is but a milestone, after which it will carry on striving for excellence and continue to shine. On this happy occasion, may I therefore join you all in wishing the University of Kent every success in its future endeavours.