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  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 12:44pm
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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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46

This article is now closed to comments

whymak
Beaker:
"Think 30+ million vehicles on the road with my designs on them."
I am quaking in my boots by your credentials. Tell us which parts of the automobile and which brands of Chinese automobiles carry your imprimatur?
Let's get real! The only way you could justify your 30 million vehicle claim is a look alike bracket or fastener for tailpipes and mufflers.
How do I know? I had participated and planned in some billion-dollar projects and business cases. In such a gargantuan R&D project - your 30 million (2 year China vehicle output) qualifies of course, no single project manager, group and section leader among the cast of hundreds could brag that prototype is his baby, and his alone. And I am talking about projects involving teams of PhDs from the likes of Berkeley, Harvard and MIT. Did Fermi, Bethe or Feynman invent the atomic bomb?
You sound like Al Gore claiming to be the Father of the Internet. The petty example of pressure and stress you gave is full of holes, which doesn't pass muster in an introductory applied math course. This alone tells me you know little about engineering fundamentals, let alone judging the knowledge of others.
You make yourself sound more important than Carlos Ghosn and I am most grateful that you condescend to spend so much time rebutting me, a retiree with too much time on his hands.
whymak
pslhk:
You said, "“how did you know that and where was your simulation to prove that”?
Rather than stupid, the question is a meaningful challenge, implying distrust of authority that seemed preoccupied with something superficial."
By George, you've got it! The student was right and this a**hole was wrong. You have to first establish linearity by simulation. The student knows it but the guy who is supposed to hire him doesn't.
That's why I said firing reader Beaker would prevent further damage to the reputation of the human resources department.
whymak
Beaker,
May I ask if you own a PhD degree in physics, math or engineering before you spill more beans of ignorance? Do you know what a stress tensor is?
By the way you phrased your question to the engineer, I have to assume you are mathematically illiterate. So let me try to straighten you with no mathematics.
An external pressure will create deformation in a material. Deformation must be described by a symmetry tensor with 6 independent components. The deformation may not be isotropic. The nature of material is such that physicists and mathematicians describe as stress, another tensor quantity, causes deformation, or vice versa. All these relationships are not necessarily isotropic or linear.
Verstehen Sie, Dumpkopf?
whymak
Reader Beaker sounds like someone from the human resources department doing preliminary recruiting. He showed plenty silliness in his dumb question in fluid mechanics. Although I am no expert in this subject, I don't think he understands the physical significance of a stress tensor, nor the appreciation of problem solving. His way in framing the question not in the restrictive context of stimulus and response, the exclusion of linearity, etc. betrays his ignorance in this subject. As a matter of fact, I doubt if he knows how to use Newton's laws and free body diagram to display pressure and stress tensor components.
I had quite a bit of experience in job interviews. When we hired Ph.D. employees, we usually required a 1-hour presentation of the candidate's research followed then by 6 to 9 separate interviews over 2 days by our own technical experts. Even for lower level than member of the technical staff, we ask young candidates probing questions that might reveal creativity and problem solving ability.
Beaker's remarks sound like they are from a totally opinionated, supercilious blockhead. Were I his boss, I would remove him from his present interviewer job function for his attitude alone.
In retirement, I remain in contact with some active academics in US research labs and universities. My friends reassure me that young Chinese graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are indeed of the highest caliber and much desired in American institutions.
pslhk
Between fun and grace, I opt for the latter
and suspend posting copies of the three missing comments
-
But kindness is fragile, mine can’t stand tests
If Beaker and others reasonably ask
I’d be more than ready for disclosure
which decision is always mine alone
-
When this report is closed for comment
disclosure, if appropriate,
will be posted to comments in Alex Lo’s column
-
I’ve thus earned some right to preach
for the beneficiary of my grace
-
Knowledge and experience are relative
Being shallow and insular isn’t a justification for loud self-importance
Ignorance and prejudice shouldn’t be allowed as bigots’ license
to misconstrue badmouthing China as objective opinionating
and objective opinionating as personal attack
Disrespect for China’s peaceful developmental endeavors
is disrespect for one of humanity’s greatest achievements
from predicaments wrecked by colonialism and imperialism
pslhk
In between my other works,
here’s an interim comment for Beaker
before I get to my other computer
to retrieve copies of the 3 disappeared comments
-
I’d refer to just one JT (B&MS, fluid mechanics) who
I once introduced to the engineering dean of a top u in Bay Area
and now working for BP
-
Silicon Valley
Two of my in-laws now retiring were the first generation computer engineers there
A niece not yet 24, has become senior development computer engineer
within two years after Stanford (B&MS)
Her brother (UM, Ann Arbor) after 8 year in Mid West
doing software development is now hr in the Bay Area
often flying between Seattle and Boston to offer jobs of min 80k each
-
I care neither who you’re
nor that your background clearly can’t compare
I understand you only by your performance
which, fairly, are you really proud of?
pslhk
You've missed the fun
somehow my (~6:30am) reply
to Beaker's two self-explanatory comments
of early Oct04 morning have all disappeared
-
But no worry and stay tuned
I copied them in another computer
and would upload them later to show that
mine isn't an attack, but a summary description of
Beaker's self felicitated derogation
-
scmp must explain
why all the 3 comments of early this morning
have disappeared
I said nothing that has been ****
I don't mind Beaker's many telling ****
which should stay to show who is attacking who
pslhk
Enjoy Beaker’s following comments (Oct4 – 1:03 and 12:56)
They’re a must to read
Caution: He is quite sour
Better to have your alka seltzer handy
mercedes2233
You don't have to agree with anybody, but you don't have to attack people you don't agree with either.
pslhk
You've missed the fun
somehow my (~6:30am) reply
to Beaker's two self-explanatory comments
of early Oct04 morning have all disappeared
-
But no worry and stay tuned
I copied them in another computer
and would upload them later to show that
mine isn't an attack, but a summary description of
Beaker's self felicitated derogation
-
scmp must explain
why all the 3 comments of early this morning
have disappeared
I said nothing that has been ****
I don't mind Beaker's many telling ****
which should stay to show who is attacking who

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