Following is a speech (English only) by Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting,Mr K C Kwong, at the Signing Ceremony of the First Microsoft AATP in Hong Kong
Equipping Ourselves in the Information Technology Era
Professor Woo, Mr Brant, Ladies and Gentlemen
The signing ceremony between HKUST and Microsoft today marks an important event in the collaboration between industry and academia. The HKUST is the first institute in Hong Kong to enter into an agreement as an Authorised Academic Training Partner with Microsoft. This collaboration not only signifies due recognition of the outstanding achievement of the University in promoting information technology in education, it also represents an important step in the development and adoption of interactive learning based on the latest advances in information technology.
Nowadays, information technology has become an integral and increasingly invisible part of our daily life. For businesses, information technology is no longer applied only in specialist or number crunching operations. Rather, it is used generally and as an essential tool in every aspect of a company's operation, from strategy planning to marketing, from product design to manufacturing and from enterprise resource management to customer relations management.
In his book "Business @ the Speed of Thought - Using a Digital Nervous System", Mr Bill Gates said: "If the 1980s were about quality and the 1990s were about re-engineering, then the 2000s will be about velocity". Indeed, in a world where technological advances and their commercialisation proceed at the "speed of thought", the motto for success cannot just be "do it", but must be "do it by the right and fast way". We have to bear in mind that in the globally connected world in which we live, new opportunities and threats can and will emerge from anywhere on the globe, including somewhere we have not even thought of in the past. And only those who can identify the opportunities and threats early and tackle them in the right and fast way will survive.
A new business environment demands new expertise and attributes from our graduates. The Government is therefore keen to encourage our universities to promote the use and application of information technology in education and research. I am glad to say that we have received very positive response from our universities. For example, our universities are now -
* developing and making available a number of tertiary level courses on-line to improve subject choice;
* establishing partnerships with higher education institutions overseas which would allow Hong Kong students to exploit a much bigger database of knowledge through electronic links and share in the educational experiences offered by overseas institutions; and
* developing and implementing education administration systems to support student registration, progress tracking, and so on.
There are other specific examples too, such as -
* the Cyberspace Centre of the HKUST helps local businesses to make effective use of the Internet;
* the world's first authorised Java Campus set up by the HKU;
* Hong Kong Internet Exchange run by the CUHK dealing with the majority of Internet traffic locally within Hong Kong; and
* the Hong Kong Academic & Research network (HARNET) which connects local universities to promote innovation, research and educational excellence in Hong Kong.
The collaboration between HKUST and Microsoft is yet another example of our universities' efforts in leveraging information technology in education and research. I am sure that the collaboration will be beneficial to both parties. I look forward to seeing more collaboration of this kind in Hong Kong. They contribute towards our efforts to make Hong Kong a leader, not a follower, in the information world.
END/ Monday, October 11, 1999