HKIEd plans tie-ups in drive to be best

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 March, 2008, 12:00am

Institute in alliance talks with UK universities

Hong Kong Institute of Education aims to become the premier centre for educational research in Asia, its president has said.

Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, speaking on his return from a visit to two leading British universities, said he wanted to match the success of London University's Institute of Education.

'The IOE is a very important education institute in the world, a leading institute in the field. We certainly hope we can establish ourselves as 'Asia's IOE' one day,' he said.

Professor Cheung's visit, part of the institutes' drive to broaden its international network, focused on forging deals on research co-operation with two universities.

He met IOE director Geoff Whitty to discuss collaboration. He also visited Cambridge University where, he said, he reached initial consensus with its education faculty on co-operation in postgraduate research.

Professor Cheung said the collaboration plans would help the institute achieve its objective of strengthening research capacity, which is considered a key area in assessing the status of a university.

'As we set out in our development blueprint, the HKIEd aims to become a leading education university in the region. So we are keen to further our research development.'

The head of the teaching training centre said the planned collaboration could give HKIEd a better understanding of how a leading education institution worked.

'The IOE is a well-developed university, with 80 academics at professors' rank. Each has its own specialised area and is highly regarded by the people from that field,' he said.

Professor Cheung said co-operation plans with the IOE would involve four postgraduate-level research areas: comparative education, assessment, citizenship education and leadership in education.

These were the HKIEd's strongest areas and it hoped to further enhance them, he said. 'We hope to make our research top-notch by focusing on our cutting-edge projects.'

The two education institutions also studied the feasibility of student and staff exchanges. These initiatives were under way in one discipline, music education, with a 'taster week' led by academic staff from both institutes to begin in mid-April.

Another plan under discussion was collaborating in a conference on leadership education, co-hosted by the IOE and its partner Beijing Normal University, due to be held in November in Beijing.

HKIEd said officials from both institutions would work out details of the collaboration proposals and a finalised pact was expected by July.

His visit comes as a special working group of the University Grants Committee is examining the Tai Po institute's proposals to attain full university status. The group will make recommendations to the government by year-end.

Currently, the institute has no research postgraduate students, but it is hoping to secure a share of research places which the government has newly promised.

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah in his budget speech last month announced plans to fund an extra 800 research places from next September.

HKIEd acting vice-president for research and development, Cheng Yin-cheong, said he hoped the institute could secure 20 to 60 places.

The IOE is a graduate college of University of London and has the largest portfolio of postgraduate programmes in education in Britain.

At any one time, the institute hosts more than 100 research projects funded by research councils, government departments and other agencies.

Its students are almost all postgraduates. It has about 4,000 taking master's courses and more than 700 research students in the doctoral school. More than 1,000 graduates attend its Postgraduate Certificate in Education courses a year.