3 Nov 2011 (Thursday)
Opening of the 2nd Asian Roundtable of Presidents of Universities of Education
Speech by Mr Michael M Y Suen, GBS, JP
Secretary for Education
Professor Cheung, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning. I am honoured to address such a distinguished audience of academics and educators from different parts of Asia. Let me extend a warm welcome to you all.
The theme of this year's roundtable is "Envisioning the Future of Asian Universities of Education". The world is more globalised and interconnected than ever. While we are confronted with a diverse range of complex problems in this ever-changing world, we are also provided with ample opportunities for collaboration beyond national boundaries. This roundtable has continued to provide a platform for educators from Asia to share their insights on how to shape the future of the region's teaching profession so as to support social transformation and human development.
In this globalised economy, education is more than just an investment in human capital to enhance the economic competitiveness of a country or a region. Professor Fullan has rightly pointed out, "Teacher education programs must help teaching candidates to link the moral purpose that influences them with the tools that will prepare them to engage in productive change." Actually, similar views were held by Han Yu (韓愈), a renowned Chinese scholar back in the Tang dynasty. In his work titled "On the Teacher" (師說), he defined the roles of teachers. He wrote, in Chinese, "師者，所以傳道、授業、解惑者也". What he said is that teachers are expected to be role models for students in all aspects, especially their moral ethics, and they are responsible for nurturing the whole-person development of students. Hence, we can see that in both the Western and Chinese cultures, teachers' moral conduct plays a significant role in students' development. It is therefore important for all the Universities of Education to devise means to attract and select talent with the right aptitude for teaching so that the core values and virtues can be passed on from generation to generation as the great wheel of time moves on. Such important heritage steers the way forward of each nation and forms the basis of advancements amid the many challenges in this ever-changing society.
In Hong Kong, with the implementation of the New Academic Structure, we are preparing students for work and further study. Our school curriculum aims at providing students with a wide range of learning experiences which foster their development of sustainable values and attitudes. We hope to lay the foundation for lifelong learning and whole-person development of our young generation and instil in them both personal and social core values, such as principled morality, perseverance, benevolence and a sense of belonging, through participating in a variety of learning activities inside and outside the classroom. It is our aspiration to unleash their potentials in preparation for entry into higher education and further study so that eventually they can contribute to the common good and sustainable development of society and the world at large.
This roundtable has provided an excellent platform for us to exchange our views and experience in the provision of higher education for the young generation. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude to the Hong Kong Institute of Education for the continued effort in organising this meaningful event.
Finally, may I wish you all a very fruitful exchange of ideas and a pleasant stay in Hong Kong!