Employer demand prompts new MSc
By MIMI CHAU
HONG KONG University's School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPACE) and a British university have teamed up to offer a Master of Science in Training degree.
This is the first distance learning MSc of its kind to be offered in the territory.
It will be run in conjunction with Leicester University's Centre for Management Studies.
A lecturer at Leicester University, Katharina Hills, said the value firms, national governments and individuals attached to training, had risen markedly in recent years.
This was largely due to an increase in international competition which had led both governments and private-sector employers to become increasingly aware of the importance of investing in the training of staff, she said.
The course content was built on previous research and teaching experience, and discussions with professionals involved in training about what they felt was required from such an academic course.
'This led to the design of a four-module course, addressing the issues which are pertinent to training from four perspectives - the individual, the organisation, the national and the international contexts.' Ms Hills said the two-year course also looked at the relationship, at various levels, between all four.
'The analysis of training problems draws on ideas and concepts from a range of disciplines, including economics, business administration, management, sociology and psychology, and integrates them within an interdisciplinary framework,' she said.
The prime objective of the course, said SPACE tutor Svend Soyland, was to provide an internationally recognised professional qualification which will enhance the reputation of training, both as a profession and as an academic discipline.
The emphasis is on placing training and development within an academic context. 'It has been designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the role of training,' he said.
'In that way we equip students with the professional knowledge and skills which are relevant to the management of training and development.' Mr Soyland said SPACE was sensitive to the problems that could arise in distance learning programmes, and local support services would provide information and act as a channel of communication with Leicester University.
The instruction and back-up available locally will be supplemented by visits from Britain by university staff at the start of each course module. Such visits will also provide opportunities for individual tutorial assistance and seminars.
The course is open to all who hold a first or second-class honours degree or an acceptable professional qualification, coupled with suitable practical experience. Applications close on August 31.