The Richard Ivey School of Business/Asia is considering a five-point plan to enhance higher education in both Hong Kong and China, the school's Asian Advisory Board chairman Henry Cheng Kar-shun says. Under the plan, the school would conduct case studies of industries in China after its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), co-operating with mainland students on projects, and encouraging Hong Kong MBA graduates to train students across the border. 'We will also consider training Chinese professors who can in turn train students and improve education standards in the mainland,' he said. In his role as chairman of the School's Asian Advisory Board, Mr Cheng had to co-ordinate proposals to improve the school's development so that it could perform better. One of the objectives of the school, headquartered in Canada, is to meet Hong Kong and China's growing demands for skilled manpower once the mainland joins the WTO. Mr Cheng noted that the total number of working people in their 20s continuing with higher education was lower in Hong Kong than it was in Britain and other developed countries. He said the school encouraged local professionals to upgrade their knowledge by taking the quality programmes and courses available. Mr Cheng said the school has brought in a large number of overseas faculty from the Richard Ivey School in Canada to teach programmes, giving local students an opportunity to get 'internationalised' and gain a greater awareness of global business trends. 'Our school trains between 40 to 50 students taking the Executive MBA programmes annually,' Mr Cheng said. Using case studies, derived from real-life cases in Asia and Canada, gives students a good sense of a business environment, he explained. Besides acquiring skills on how to manage a business, students were also taught about unity and teamwork, including making decisions resulting in good leadership, he added. Mr Cheng said most students who enrolled for programmes at the Richard Ivey School of Business (Asia) were senior executives at managerial levels, reflecting an increased demand for higher quality standards of education. 'At the Richard Ivey School of Business/Asia, students undergo specialised and high quality training, and as more people qualify, Hong Kong's standard of skilled manpower is also improving.' Asked whether the school was expanding in Asia, he said the school had no current plans to open up branches in other parts of Asia. Turning to China, Mr Cheng said the mainland's demand for skilled manpower was rising rapidly, as the country's economy was growing at a rate of more than 7 per cent this year, a higher rate than in other economies. He said China's manpower resources had to be trained to international standards in order to conduct international business. Asked about China's plans to train 1,000 MBAs annually, Mr Cheng said that after the WTO accession, the number would probably be insufficient to meed the demands of China's rapidly growing economy.