HONG KONG'S role as an international financial, information and service centre will become more pronounced in the wake of China's recent rapid economic development.
How Hong Kong will be positioned in the international political and economic arena is of major concern. Whether its role as a meeting point between Western and Eastern cultures will be affected depends on local and international developments.
In view of this, the Opening Learning Institute (OLI) of Hong Kong is offering a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies Programme, designed to provide students with a broad understanding of political science and history as well as sociology and economics of selected regions in the world.
According to Dr So Wai-chor, senior lecturer and programme leader of the OLI International Studies Programme, School of Arts and Social Science, this programme is suitable for anyone who seeks a broad education in political, socio-economic and historical developments in major areas of the world.
''The programme aims to equip students with ways of understanding and analysing international, regional and local situations from political, social and cultural perspectives,'' he said.
Dr So pointed out that recent changes in the political and commercial environments were reshaping national boundaries and economic structures.
''To maintain our competitive edge, we must be able to keep informed of the latest developments in our place and elsewhere.
''Knowledge about international politics, information of global trends, appreciation of others' business practices and an understanding of different cultures are all vital to training our future leaders and sustaining a role as an international city,'' he said.
The programme takes a multi-disciplinary approach to studies.
It comprises courses in five areas: political science, economics, history, sociology and literature.
A major portion of the course work is adapted from material developed by universities in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, which are renowned for their research in the relevant subject areas.
''The multi-disciplinary nature of the programme offers a broad career path to its graduates,'' Dr So said.
''This programme is particularly useful for administrative and executive officers in the civil service and social service sectors, journalists, teachers and executives in the industrial and commercial sectors, especially those with regional responsibilities.'' The programme also offers a flexible system of learning to the working adult.
Students may graduate early or they can take a more relaxed approach.
Students pursuing this degree must complete at least 120 credits for a BA and 160 credits for an honours degree with no time limit to their study.