Quality education in open society

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 January, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 January, 2001, 12:00am

I refer to the report headlined, 'Doubt on Australia graduates' (South China Morning Post, January 12).

It was disturbing to read the comment from Michael Tien Pun-sun, chairman of the G-2000 retail group and the steering committee of the Workplace English Campaign, that 'people head for Australia only if they can't get into Ivy League [universities] in the US'.

Hong Kong people head for Australia in order to benefit from a different approach that produces graduates of world-class standing and reputation, graduates who are able to put that education to use in senior positions at home and overseas.

Australia has produced a disproportionately high number of Nobel Prize winners given the small size of its population: Four in physiology or medicine alone. Australian Professor Peter Doherty, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Medicine, sums it up rather well in an article written recently for the Australian Chamber of Commerce's annual directory, Australian Business in Hong Kong.

He wrote, 'Australia is a good place to educate your children. If you are looking for research expertise, the country is very strong in areas like biotechnology, astronomy, land and water management and a host of others. There are outstanding programmes in behavioural and social sciences, some with a particular orientation towards Asia in, for example, the Research School of Pacific Studies at the Australian National University. Australian PhD graduates often do extraordinarily well in the US and Europe. Australians currently lead the World Bank, Coca-Cola Corporation, Ford US and a number of other major enterprises.'

Among the many reasons why students from Hong Kong and other Asian countries choose to enrol at Australian universities is the simple fact that Australia is an open, free and tolerant multicultural society. It is also close to Asia, allowing students to maintain close family ties, it offers competitive tuition fees and cost of living and, despite what your article states, its education and training are second to none.



The Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong