Wednesday, 9 September 2015

UGC guardian of core values

Chief Executive CY Leung

For 50 years the University Grants Committee has played a guiding role in expanding and developing our university education. We have come a long way. Not long ago, there were only two publicly funded universities offering government-funded first-year, first-degree places to merely two per cent of secondary school leavers. Now the equivalent percentage is about 24, among the eight internationally competitive institutions.

 

We have been investing considerably in each of them and, through them, the new generation of Hong Kong. This investment, and your continuing advice and support, has helped transform Hong Kong into Asia's world city.

 

Among my past public-service appointments, education featured more prominently than any other. During my 12 years as Council Chairman of two UGC-funded institutions, I experienced, firsthand, the improvement of the entire sector in both teaching and research. I have also seen the expansion of fruitful collaboration with eminent scholars and researchers from around the world, and enlarged enrolment of overseas students.

 

Going forward, let me offer a couple of observations. Traditionally, universities regarded teaching and generation of knowledge as their prime responsibilities. Today, universities around the world have included in their mission the transformation of fundamental research into solutions that have social and economic impacts. "Deploy or die" conjoins "publish or perish".

 

Innovation and entrepreneurship are recognised globally as the engine of growth. As the powerhouse of innovation, universities in Hong Kong have an irreplaceable role in translating and applying new knowledge in solving real life problems which, more often than not, cut across academic disciplines. To achieve scale and maximise impact, collaboration among institutions is an imperative.

 

The UGC has long recognised the importance of knowledge transfer and collaboration, and have instituted various incentive schemes to achieve these ends. Further efforts on the part of the UGC to foster collaboration across academic disciplines and institutions will be appreciated. We need more effective policies that encourage academics, as well as students, with such talents to carry their discoveries all the way to the market and society.

 

The achievements of the UGC-funded institutions are underpinned by the core values of academic freedom and institutional autonomy, as provided for and defined by the Basic Law and the ordinances. Since its establishment in 1965, UGC has been the guardian of these core values. In the firm belief that the higher education sector is an indispensible part of our knowledge-based society, the Hong Kong SAR Government will continue to invest through the UGC in our tertiary institutions.

 

Chief Executive CY Leung gave these remarks at the 50th Anniversary Cocktail Reception of University Grants Committee & Presentation Ceremony of 2015 UGC Teaching Award on September 9.


Regards,
Otmane El Rhazi
Department of Commerce
Economic Development
Text/Mobile, +44 7414 782 320

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