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  • Nov 1, 2014
  • Updated: 2:45pm
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EDUCATION

Hong Kong universities 'face bigger challenge from mainland campuses'

HKUST vice chancellor warns city could lose its place as first choice for the best students and should seek greater support from businesses

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 October, 2013, 3:49pm

Hong Kong universities have been warned to prepare for stiffer challenges from elite mainland institutions that have more money and bigger pools of talent.

While attention has focused recently on how the city's position as China's primary financial centre may be under threat from Shanghai, a leading academic said it was also in danger of losing its standing as top choice for the nation's brightest students.

The vice chancellor of the University of Science and Technology, Tony Chan Fan-cheong, said the likes of Peking University and Tsinghua University were working hard to raise their standards.

"They have global ambition and great students. That's the long-term competition we're up against. We have to keep running to stay in place."

His warning comes ahead of the release tomorrow of a new global ranking of universities by Times Higher Education.

Chan said Hong Kong's universities cannot compete with the mainland on money or talent. "These I think they have in abundance. But how to use them efficiently and in a proper way so that you don't corrupt your core values? That is another question."

Chan, giving his first interview since renewing a contract that will run until 2019, said Hong Kong must play to its unique strengths: free flow of information and a robust rule of law.

"Here you can get any information. You can access Facebook, Google, Twitter or weibo. Everything is available," he said.

Hong Kong's universities constantly rank among the best in Asia and have become the preferred choice of the mainland's best students.

At the same time, they have been criticised for not working closely enough with the business and commercial sectors. A survey in August by Times Higher Education ranked the city's universities behind those in Korea, Singapore, China and even Turkey in terms of collaborating with business in research efforts.

Chan said local universities should strive for more support from business communities.

"I often envy our counterparts in Korea, because they have scholarships and labs sponsored by companies like Samsung and LG, and when their students graduate, they can get into these companies."

Chan noted that many mainland-based companies, such as Lenovo or Huawei, were setting up labs in Hong Kong.

He said the city must seize these opportunities.

"The government has a role to play in this," said Chan. "It needs to offer [more] initiatives and incentives. We have all the right ingredients. We just need a leader with a vision."

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Beaker
I don't need to conjecture. I worked at a major SOE car company where we were supposedly getting engineering graduates from top named universities, Jiaotong, Tongyi, Jilin, places like that. The engineering graduates were for the most part worthless with no problem solving abilities. It was clear these were the best parrots, not the smartest graduates. They did not know how to analyze. Anything which they were not taught by rote, they treated a challenge as some sort of trick question. One must conclude cheating since there was requirement for level 8 English, and some who were hired had no usable English skills. I once was telling an engineer that, if we doubled the pressure, that the stress on the walls would also double. He looked at me and asked how did I know that and where was my simulation to prove that. I just looked at him sadly. The last year of a 4 year education was mostly to keep the kids there to charge them an extra year of tuition. Some 4th year students just spent the whole year to write a paper. Classes cost money to run. Another problem is, the kids' chosen academic path is devoid of their actual education. If they tested well, they will get into a good school, but not given their choice of education. If they really want to, they can pursue their chosen field, but then they don't get to go to the big name school. This leaves most graduates working in professions which they did not choose. I got all of this from talking to our engineers.
pslhk
From my impression of this commentator's previous postings
and my experiences with Jiaotong's graduates in sciences
Beaker's either a misunderstanding
"I got all of this from talking to our engineers"
or much more likely, intentional disinformation
We've all heard about Cambridge graduates
who speak worse than Chinganesh
Beaker should make one ask
in whose company are those "substandard" Jiaotong graduates,
if there were such?
Badmouthing is meant to gain "reputation" and "authority"
part of this superficial world's "good guys" "bad guys" dichotomy
Beaker
I am the ultimate consumer of the products of Chinese universities. I am in a hiring manager's position and I do interview candidates. It does not matter what your excuses are. It has gotten so bad that I give the candidates 2 hours to take a 3 question test with what I believe are necessary skills to do whatever job is being sought. This is often done in Silicon Valley. If they cannot pass the test, they will not qualify. But, if they get some of it correct, I will try to see if they have aptitude. You have done nothing to dispel my assertions. I ask anyone to read in detail your points on why you think I am biased or, even purposely being deceitful. They will not find anything to support your attempts. What are your experiences with JT grads? What do you do to make your assessments? What is your calibration of 100% to be able to judge qualification? Chinese ruler or my ruler? I don't misunderstand. I speak fluent Mandarin. I don't need to give you who I worked for, but I've given you enough so that, if you have any analytical abilities, as I mentioned your people lack, you should be able to figure out where I was. What? feeling inadequate now, not knowing that you have been given clues all along, but wanting me to out myself? buhuhu.
Go ahead, support anyone of your statements trying to dispel me, and you will find you presented no arguments, just statements. That is how you Commies talk, and using your guanxi, you expect to prevail. Not here, boy.
pslhk
Hear and see
-
The self-understanding of this hiring manager who claims to be
“the ultimate consumer of the products of Chinese Universities”
-
When I’m back to the other computer to upload his other words of wisdom
we should see that he is a reliable source of miserable jokes
-
Again, scmp
why have the three comments of early this morning disappeared?
mercedes2233
If you have different conclusions, say so. Just because you don't agree doesn't mean you should attack Beaker. Let's see if your version of 'facts' will convince us differently.
And incidentally, the format you write in is irritating and doesn't help your case. And I have not heard about Cambridge graduates speaking worse than 'Chinganesh' and so don't know what you are talking about.
mercedes2233
Thank you. Glad to have some real information. So HK has nothing to fear from competing with mainland China universities.
superdx
Academic fraud is everywhere, in the US, in the EU
But the level of fraud and quality in universities in China that whatever legitimately smart people may be there, the urge to stick the university's name on some state owned project in return for cash is simply too irresitable. Would look twice before seeing any value in a Chinese university research paper, recommendation or sponsored report
mercedes2233
Interesting. Please do tell about the academic fraud cases that you seem so knowledgeable about.
pslhk
jpinst, how many mainland u’s have you visited
during your terrible life of suffering
self-inflicted nightmarish cold war delusion
overflowing with fears, envies and ignorance?
-
Professors of top US u's told me very different things
after recent Sabbaticals in mainland u's
Go see if the women underneath Canal Road flyover may help you
before your nightmares become even more terrible
lucifer
Mainland Universities will never amount to anything even considered worthy of admiration except on the Mainland.
This is because they lack academic freedom, control acess to published works, limit topics for post graduate dissertations, (which means less international journals will want to publish the Party's line), restrict subjects taught and class discussions, restrict access to global sources such as the Internet, have very few non-mainland Chinese faculty, the schools are mostly administered by the Party, the top adminitrators are government ofdficials...the list goes on and on.
They can spend trillions and this will not help to establish Mainland Universities as anything other that Party teaching mills.

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