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Universities in Hong Kong

Liberal arts college in Hong Kong upgraded to private university amid city’s push to be global financial hub

  • Known for supplying talent for local businesses, new Hang Seng University shows government’s determination to keep developing in international stature, industry leader says
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2018, 8:31pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2018, 11:24pm

A top liberal arts institution in Hong Kong supplying talent for local businesses has won government approval to become a private university as part of the city’s push to become a financial hub.

Officials announced on Tuesday that the Chief Executive in Council had approved an application from Hang Seng Management College to change its name to Hang Seng University of Hong Kong.

With the upgrade, the city will have 11 degree-awarding post-secondary institutions classified as a university. Of these, eight are funded by the government through the University Grants Committee.

The college evolved from the Hang Seng School of Commerce, which was founded in 1980 with funding from the S H Ho Foundation, several Hang Seng Bank founding directors, and Hang Seng Bank. It is a leading provider of post-secondary programmes in business and related areas.

Professional Teachers’ Union president Fung Wai-wah said the government’s decision showed its determination to keep developing the city into an international financial centre.

The upgrade will equip Hong Kong with more talents
Fung Wai-wah, Professional Teachers’ Union

“The upgrade will equip Hong Kong with more talents,” Fung said, noting local young people would “now have another choice” in studying business and related programmes.

“Hang Seng will be able to provide more resources and highlight its connection and links within the industry.”

The school was last restructured in response to then chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen’s 2009 policy address, which highlighted the growing significance of quality private universities in Hong Kong. The Hang Seng School of Commerce in 2010 became Hang Seng Management College.

At present the college is a non-profit, private university-level institution registered under the Post Secondary Colleges Ordinance. It offers programmes at the bachelor’s level and higher.

About 5,000 students are enrolled in its five schools: business; communication; decision sciences; humanities and social science; and translation.

Education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen welcomed the news, saying it would give a “boost” to the development of higher education in Hong Kong.

“It adds diversity to the education system,” Ip said, noting Hang Seng is known for its courses in business management and humanities.

Ip added he hoped other private tertiary institutions in the city could be granted university status if they met the qualifications.

The upgrading of Hang Seng’s status followed an institutional review of the college last year by the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications.

Chu Hai College of Higher Education had also applied to be upgraded as a university.

Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung congratulated the institution.

“The development of private universities ... provided a channel for all sectors of society to contribute resources and efforts for the benefit of students,” a government statement said.

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Hang Seng will be the second private university in Hong Kong. Shue Yan was established first, in 2006.

The college’s student union president Li Cheung-kuk said students were delighted to learn of the news.

“This is a recognition of our college’s academic status and development,” Li said.

He hoped the college could retain its liberal education tradition and small class sizes.

In a statement on Tuesday, the college expressed its gratitude to the Hong Kong government and other “many different stakeholders for their recognition”.

Louisa Cheang Wai-wan, chairwoman of the college’s board of governors, said it was “delighted” by the government’s decision. She added the school sought to become “a leading private liberal arts-oriented university in the region”.

Professor Simon Ho Shun-man, the college’s president, said the awarding of university status indicated “support and recognition” from society.

“With an aim to be the leading non-profit private university in the region, we will nurture future professionals and social leaders with integrity and social responsibility,” Ho added.

Additional reporting by Rachel Leung