Opening Remarks by Ms Michelle LI, JP
Permanent Secretary for Education
at the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic
and Vocational Qualifications Annual Dinner
19 September 2023 (Tuesday)
The Honourable Rock CHEN, Chairman of HKCAAVQ, Deputy WU (Liaison Office of The Central People’s Government in The Hong Kong S.A.R.), Mr Albert CHOW (Executive Director), Council Members, ladies and gentlemen,
Good evening. It is my great pleasure to join you tonight to celebrate another fruitful year of the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications (HKCAAVQ). After the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, I really treasure the opportunity to meet all of you, without masks, and see all your smiling faces on this joyous occasion. I am particularly pleased to meet the Council Members, especially those non-local Members who come from afar to Hong Kong, and all other local and international friends from the education community and various trades.
2. Hong Kong Government attaches great importance to education. One out of five dollars of government spending is invested in education. Our education is characterised by quality, diversity and vibrancy. Five of our universities rank among the top 100 in the world. This is no small feat in the world, particularly for a small city like Hong Kong. Around 80% of our secondary school leavers have access to post-secondary education. We have multiple articulation pathways for our youngsters to pursue their dreams according to their abilities and aspirations. We have a wide array of high quality lifelong learning opportunities for our workforce. But it is quality, not quantity, that counts.
3. Quality is always dear to our heart. Quality assurance is the cornerstone of the Hong Kong Qualifications Framework (HKQF). Since its establishment, HKCAAVQ has been serving the crucial and unique role as an independent statutory body to provide quality assurance and assessment services to education and training institutions, course providers, and the general public in Hong Kong. Its quality assurance services provided to the academic as well as vocational and professional education and training (VPET) sectors help safeguard the quality and standard of recognised qualifications of the HKQF and propel its continuous development. We are truly grateful for the contributions of HKCAAVQ in promoting the quality and competitiveness of Hong Kong’s human resources.
4. Over the years, HKCAAVQ has been a close partner of the Education Bureau (EDB), assisting us in developing and strengthening our quality and diverse articulation and progression pathways. With the steadfast support and professional advice of HKCAAVQ, we have been pressing ahead with many key policy initiatives over the years. For instance, HKCAAVQ has been appointed as our consultant for the Review of Sub-degree Education which was concluded successfully earlier this year to strengthen the positioning of the Higher Diploma qualification in the VPET pathway and enhance its recognition. HKCAAVQ also supports our Pilot Project on the Development of Applied Degree Programmes (Pilot Project), that aims to promote applied degrees in Hong Kong and enhance the VPET pathway at degree level. With HKCAAVQ’s support, we have just announced the results of the second round of the Pilot Project, introducing four more pilot applied degree programmes on top of the four programmes in the first round. We hope VPET qualifications will be regarded as one of the preferred pathways rather than second-rate qualifications. We will continue to promote the development of VPET to nurture talent with applied skills and knowledge to address the keen manpower needs of our community.
5. We are pleased to witness HKCAAVQ’s contribution in not only Hong Kong but also in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and beyond. In particular, I very much appreciate HKCAAVQ’s efforts in fostering the collaboration between Hong Kong and Guangdong on the area of the development of qualifications framework, further to the signing of the Letter of Intent on QF Co-operation between Hong Kong and Guangdong between the EDB and the Department of Education of Guangdong Province in 2019, as well as the Framework Agreement on Strengthening Education Exchange and Co-operation between Guangdong and Hong Kong recently signed in August 2023. HKCAAVQ is also providing professional services to some schools in the GBA offering Hong Kong curriculum. Similarly, HKCAAVQ also renders services to Macau authorities and institutions. With this solid foundation, HKCAAVQ has established itself as a quality assurance agency not just for Hong Kong but also the region.
6. Indeed, HKCAAVQ has gained increasing global recognition in recent years. In 2021, HKCAAVQ attained the status of “substantial compliance” with the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG) from the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA). Earlier this month, HKCAAVQ further obtained the recognition of being fully aligned with the Good Practices of the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE). I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate HKCAAVQ in becoming the first quality assurance agency in the Asia Pacific Region that have attained such recognitions by both ENQA, a top quality assurance agency with a long history in Europe, and also INQAAHE, the first even international network of more than 300 quality assurance bodies. The recognitions are not only testimony to the leading role of HKCAAVQ in the region, but also fully affirm its endeavours since its establishment and acknowledging the contributions by HKCAAVQ to Hong Kong’s academic and vocational education and training. All these achievements would not be possible without the capable leadership of the Chairman, the support of the Council members and the education community, as well as the professionalism of HKCAAVQ team. Let us give them a round of applause.
7. Looking ahead, I am confident that HKCAAVQ will continue to strive for excellence and explore further strategic development in quality assurance and assessment under the able leadership of the Honourable CHEN. EDB will continue to work hand-in-hand with HKCAAVQ with a view to further enhancing the quality of qualifications in the academic, vocational, professional and continuing education sectors, driving the education sector to new heights. With concerted efforts, we can tell a good story of Hong Kong’s education and training.
8. May I wish the Council every success in the years to come and all of you a most enjoyable evening and a fruitful year ahead. Thank you!