EDMOND KO INQ-MING
Professor Edmond Ko Inq-ming, 60, a veteran academic and advocate of the new senior secondary curriculum, died at home on Friday.
The cause of his death remains unknown, although he had been suffering from flu recently.
Ko's sudden death triggered an outpouring of condolences from the government, fellow educators and colleagues. Education minister Michael Suen Ming-yeung called him 'a distinguished scholar and an educationist with passion and vision'.
'He played a pivotal role in promoting excellence in teaching and learning as well as putting in place robust quality assurance mechanisms,' Suen said.
'He will be remembered for his tremendous contribution to the development of education in Hong Kong as a close friend and partner of the Education Bureau.'
The Curriculum Development Council, which Ko joined as chairman in 2007, expressed deep sorrow. It commended Ko's commitment to promoting the senior secondary structure launched in 2009 and its associated curriculum.
'In the past few years, he played a prominent role in guiding the CDC towards thorough deliberations and in-depth analyses on various curriculum development issues, all of which helped to ensure that curriculum development could cater for students' learning needs and keep abreast of the times,' it said.
Ko was also senior adviser to the provost at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, where he was director of the Centre for Engineering Education Innovation and adjunct professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.
He held memberships in a host of educational bodies, including the Quality Assurance Council of the University Grants Committee, the Education Commission, the Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications and the council of the Hong Kong Institute of Education. He was awarded the Bronze Bauhinia Star in 2010.
Ko's education in the United States - where he obtained a PhD in chemical engineering from Stanford University - may have shaped his open, approachable style. His HKUST colleagues commended his willingness to serve as a mentor.
In his seven years at City University, during which he served as vice-president for undergraduate education, before joining HKUST, he was known for his concern for students. Once, at a public conference, he called for an end to the barrage of complaints that standards were falling among university graduates.
Ko believed in whole-person development and life-long learning.
'University education is not to prepare students for a specific job but rather the prospect of career changes in their life,' he told the Post in 2003.
On the goal of university education, he said: 'It will be a total failure if it does not produce responsible citizens who are analytical, have critical thinking and are concerned about what is happening around them.'
Most in the education community would agree he did his part to help make that ideal a reality.