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SED attends Guangdong-Hong Kong University Presidents' Forum (with photos)

     The Secretary for Education (SED), Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim, and presidents or vice-presidents of the eight University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded institutions attended the Guangdong-Hong Kong University Presidents' Forum at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou today (November 3) to explore further collaboration and exchange opportunities between higher education institutions of the two places in the areas of teaching, research and talent nurturing.

     Speaking at the Forum, which was the first of its kind, Mr Ng said that the three themes of the Forum, namely "Establishing Guangdong-Hong Kong Higher Education Institution Alliance for High Quality Universities", "Cooperation and Exchanges for Talent Nurturing" and "Industrial, Academic and Research Collaborative Innovation and Industry Partnership", are all closely related to the co-operation between the higher education institutions in Guangdong and Hong Kong as well as the long-term development of the two places.

     First, the state has given a great deal of policy support to Hong Kong's higher education institutions to provide education on the Mainland. In this connection, Hong Kong's higher education institutions have in recent years taken the initiative to strengthen bilateral partnership and establish scientific research bases on the Mainland, in particular the Pearl River Delta Region.

     Second, the higher education institutions in Hong Kong and the Mainland have continued to deepen co-operation and complement each other in the areas of talent nurturing and exchanges for teachers and students. In the 2014/15 academic year, over 11 600 Mainland students enrolled in UGC-funded programmes, with nearly 1 500 of them coming from Guangdong Province. And for each of the past three academic years, the number of Hong Kong students pursuing undergraduate studies on the Mainland was over 3 000.

     Third, on the research front, researchers of the higher education institutions in Hong Kong and the Mainland have forged a close partnership. The number of joint research projects rose from less than 900 in 2011 to more than 1 200 in 2014, ranging from medicine, computing, physics, chemistry, astronomy and geography to languages and humanities. About one-fifth of them are collaborative projects with higher education institutions in Guangdong Province.

     Mr Ng believed that through a direct dialogue between presidents or vice presidents of the eight Hong Kong universities and the 14 participating Guangdong universities, the Forum could promote mutual understanding and open up room for broader co-operation.

     He added that Hong Kong was an international city and a regional education hub. Along with the implementation of the "Belt and Road" initiative, the development of over 60 countries along the routes would speed up and hence would provide Hong Kong with unprecedented opportunities. Hong Kong had already established good collaboration networks in post-secondary education with some of the countries along the "Belt and Road", and would continue to promote research and talent exchanges between itself, the Mainland and the countries along the routes to make further contributions to the initiative.

     In addition, Hong Kong would strengthen the liaison and support for non-local students from the countries along the "Belt and Road" to familiarise them with Chinese culture. Hong Kong's higher education institutions were also being encouraged to arrange post-secondary students to visit the countries along the routes for exchanges, observations and short-term internship so as to provide the students with more chances for career development.

     Mr Ng stressed that Guangdong and Hong Kong have long been very closely related and said he hoped that both sides will continue to strengthen co-operation with each other. At the university presidents' forum today, both sides agreed to follow up on the modes of co-operation and to open up for students more opportunities for exchange, research, innovation and business start-ups.

     After the Forum, the Hong Kong delegation moved on to the Guangzhou University City to visit the National Supercomputer Centre in Guangzhou. The delegates also visited the Nansha Free Trade Zone.

     Officials accompanying Mr Ng on his visit to Guangdong include the Deputy Secretary for Education, Mr Brian Lo; the Principal Assistant Secretary for Education (Higher Education), Ms Sharon Ko; and the Political Assistant to the SED, Mr Jeff Sze. They will return to Hong Kong tonight.

Ends/Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:08


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