26 September 2012 (Wednesday)
Opening Ceremony of the New Office of the
Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of
Academic and Vocational Qualifications (HKCAAVQ)
Speech by Mr Ng Hak-kim, GBS, JP
Secretary for Education
Mr (Martin) Liao, Professor (Y K) Fan, Council members, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning. I am delighted to join you this morning to celebrate the opening of the new office of HKCAAVQ. May I also extend a warm welcome to all those Council members who have travelled thousands of miles to Hong Kong.
For those of us who have come to this building for the first time, we are pleasantly surprised to note that this upscale office with modern architectural design was in fact converted from an old primary school. Indeed, the physical transformation and modernisation of HKCAAVQ's new home bears a strong resemblance to the transformation of the Council itself over the past 22 years. From humble beginnings, HKCAAVQ has grown in size and importance, gradually establishing itself as a locally, nationally, regionally and globally recognised quality assurance agency for education and training. Its staff establishment has increased by more than four-fold to 90. Its ambit has expanded substantially, embracing a wide range of academic, vocational and continuing education programmes, from Level 1 to Level 7 of the Qualifications Framework (QF in short), from local to transnational programmes, offered on a publicly funded and self-financing basis. These achievements would not have been possible without the leadership and hard work of the present and past chairmen, members and staff.
Indeed, an organisation must move with the times, in terms of its hardware and software. As we share the joy of inaugurating the Council's new home, we also embrace the shared vision and commitment to safeguarding quality assurance of the education and training sector locally, regionally and globally. The globalisation of higher education, the advent of technology and the growth of lifelong learning have presented new challenges to the quality assurance system, particularly in terms of comparability, benchmarking, recognition between different systems and levels. Nowadays, all systems are interlocking ones that should encompass not merely conventional programmes in higher education but also the borderless, private, vocational and continuing education. It is against this background that Hong Kong launched our QF in 2008. We are pleased to have HKCAAVQ as our strategic partner in putting in place a robust quality assurance mechanism underpinning QF. The Government counts on HKCAAVQ, as the sole statutory quality assurance body, to be the gatekeeper to safeguard the quality of learning programmes and qualifications. On the other hand, we also rely on the Council as a "gate opener" to facilitate and assist stakeholders in joining QF.
The introduction of QF also coincides with a period of significant changes in the landscape of the education and training sector in Hong Kong. Within a short span of five years, we have witnessed the emergence of five new degree-awarding institutions, bringing the total number to 17. We now have some 1 200 non-local programmes in Hong Kong, of which over 50 have completed local accreditation. We also have 18 Industry Training Advisory Committees (ITAC) covering 45 per cent of the working population. HKCAAVQ has served as the advisor of ITAC. Our next challenge is to encourage the provision of programmes based on QF and the Specification of Competency Standards carefully drawn up by ITAC. We are pleased to note that HKCAAVQ is conducting various reviews with a view to streamlining the accreditation process, enhancing user-friendliness, saving costs, and strengthening its underpinning role for the development of QF.
On this memorable occasion, I must thank and congratulate all those who have worked so hard in contributing to the inauguration of this new office. The building opens up a new space for commitment and importance, designed to meet the increasing demand and expectations of HKCAAVQ. May I wish all colleagues and Council members a very pleasant working environment. May I also wish you all good health and every success. Thank you.