Curriculums already broadened to enhance students' all-round development Universities are already broadening their curriculums before the implementation of four-year programmes intended to enhance students' all-round development. The University of Hong Kong will offer more interdisciplinary and double degrees from next year, including the international business and global management programme jointly run by the faculties of business and economics and social sciences. It will cover arts, political science, law and humanities, and involve an overseas exchange, field trip and an internship in a local or overseas organisation. Chau Yam-keung, associate dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics, said students' past records of participation in extra-curricular activities and social services, apart from academic performance, would be considered for admission purposes. A programme in business administration and information systems is also in the pipeline following the launch of the bachelor of civil engineering (law) two years ago. The Faculty of Social Sciences has since last year allowed its students to opt for multidisciplinary majors and minors, such as media and cultural studies, and applied child development. Students can also major in arts, science or business while taking social science courses. 'We want to give our students greater flexibility in what courses to take,' said faculty dean James Tang Tuck-hong. New students would be required to take core competence courses taught by teachers from various disciplines from next year. Dr Tang said the changes were in line with the liberal arts concept popular in the United States and would help prepare for the four-year system. 'Interdisciplinary knowledge is more and more important to a knowledge economy. It prepares one to respond to various social challenges,' Dr Tang said. 'We hope the new offers will become part of the future education we provide. They will also allow us to gather experience and get feedback on issue like curriculum planning and resource allocation.' Students would also have the option of doing the credit-bearing innovative social exposure programme involving internship at various local and international organisations. Chinese University, which offered four-year programmes until 1994, is ready to make the switch back anytime, according to vice-chancellor Lawrence Lau. In a letter to staff and students this week, he expressed support for longer education. 'University education is not only to equip students with the skills of advancing the frontiers of knowledge, but also to groom their personal attributes, cultivate their ability to adapt to a knowledge society and to rise to the challenge of a fast-changing society,' he wrote. He added the university was prepared to work with all parties to make the four-year curriculum happen as soon as possible. Lingnan University president Edward Chen Kwan-yiu said his institution would develop new programmes in the next triennium to broaden the curriculum. The Hong Kong Institute of Education is planning to collaborate with other institutions to nurture professional teachers in liberal studies and has set up a taskforce to design an integrated curriculum for liberal studies related programmes.