Hong Kong has been expanding its tertiary system since the 1990s to meet the needs of a fast-evolving knowledge-based economy. Today’s students are more likely to seek higher education to stay competitive.
One of the most important policy shifts was signalled by former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa in 2000, when he proposed a reconfiguration of the post-secondary system. Under the policy, it was estimated that 60 per cent of young people would continue to study beyond secondary level by 2010. Today, the participation rate has exceeded 70 per cent with more self-financed tertiary institutions offering a wide range of sub-degree programmes. I
n 2012, under the new 3-3-4 education system, about 70,000 secondary school students will take the first Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education. However, the institutions funded by the government’s University Grants Committee only provide around 15,000 first-year first-degree places. Hence, the remaining students may have to look for education opportunities at private institutions and universities.
The 3-3-4 education reform has also led to a “double cohort” in mid-2012, which will require more staff.
Public and private universities will compete for talent with doctoral degrees or research experience. To attract the right candidates, salaries for teaching and research staff are expected to remain high.
Dr Chui Hong-sheung, president, Hang Seng Management College