23 November 2010 (Tuesday)
Grand Opening Ceremony of
the University of Hong Kong’s India Office
Speech by Mr Raymond H C Wong, JP
Permanent Secretary for Education, HKSAR
Mr Khare, Dr Chona, Professor Spinks, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon. It is my great pleasure to welcome you all in celebrating the official opening of the University of Hong Kong’s India office.
Yesterday, I had the honour to meet Mr Kapil Sibal, the Honourable Minister of Human Resource Development. Both of us agreed that there are ample opportunities for education and research collaboration between India and Hong Kong.
Today, we are here to witness the opening of the University of Hong Kong’s India office. The University of Hong Kong (HKU) is our oldest university – it will celebrate its centennial anniversary next year. As an alumnus of this university, I am pleased to note that the University is now widely recognised as one of the leading universities in the world and often considered the best in Asia.
The opening of the University’s India office will be the first such overseas office established by our universities. It signifies that the University, and indeed Hong Kong, is keen to develop long-lasting relationships with India at the highest level of education. The opening of this office would not be possible without the wise counsel and staunch support from senior leaders of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, like Mr. Khare, and from other leading individuals in Indian education, like Dr. Chona. Both of them are present here today and I would like to especially express our heartfelt gratitude to them. Our thanks also go to numerous other community leaders in Delhi and Mumbai who have given us positive response and assistance.
This office will be a visible form of HKU’s physical presence in India and will open up new opportunities for exchange and collaboration between HKU and India. HKU and the University of Delhi, for example, are both members of the Universitas21 consortium of research-led institutions around the world.
Apart from institutional collaboration, HKU currently has around 100 Indian students on campus. I understand that applications from Indian students have increased by over 70% in just last year alone. The University has also secured scholarship donations that are specifically earmarked for Indian students. The opening of the India Office, to be sure, will help further the University’s efforts in this area.
Ladies and gentlemen, Hong Kong aspires to be a regional education hub but so do over a hundred other cities around the world. However, we do have something very unique to offer as an education hub.
Hong Kong is a place where East meets West. Our institutions teach in English but the rich Chinese language and cultural environment also prepare students who are interested in developing their career in Asia, particularly in the Greater China region. We have a lively cosmopolitan environment with free flow of information, ideas and people. The Government has also implemented a number of measures to encourage internationalization such as scholarships and user-friendly immigration rules. I will talk more about these later on in the reception after this opening ceremony. Our tertiary institutions’ representatives will also be more than happy to tell you in greater detail on what individual institutions are doing to internationalize their campuses.
Dear guests, may I invite you all to join me in wishing the India office of the University of Hong Kong a very successful and fruitful future.
Thank you very much.