A local academic this week criticised Hong Kong education officials and academics for being too insular following a low turnout at the Beijing conference. Wu Siu-wai, assistant professor of education at Hong Kong Institute of Education, said that if Hong Kong was to be a real international city it needed 'to look outside more'. 'We don't just have to learn from other countries, but ... show we have something to contribute,' he said. Apart from Dr Wu, only one other Hong Kong-based academic attended: Bjorn Harald Nordveit, assistant research professor in the University of Hong Kong's faculty of education. 'It seems very few people in Hong Kong are talking about these topics,' Dr Wu said. He said the Education Bureau should send representatives to similar conferences in the region to remain abreast of the latest developments in education research and boost Hong Kong's status as an education hub. Mark Bray, director of Unesco's International Institute for Educational Planning, said he would welcome the involvement of government officials. 'Of course it would be good to see them here,' he said. 'If we just have academics talking to academics, sometimes it is a case of someone saying 'education is important' and of course we all agree. We need to get the decision makers involved so that we can actually have an impact.' Professor Bray, a former HKU dean of education, said there were far fewer Hong Kong academics at the forum than at the previous round in 2005. 'Cerc may not be represented in person, but its work is still continuing,' he said. 'A number of our alumni are also here.'