Hong Kong's Reunion with China: The Global Dimensions

By Gerard A. Postiglione; James T. H. Tang | Go to book overview

10
Hong Kong's Universities Within the Global Academy

Gerard A. Postiglione

By definition, knowledge has no bounds and thus universities are among the most global of institutions. It is not surprising, then, that Hong Kong higher education is international in character. For many years, until 1990, Hong Kong had sent more of its students overseas for university education, mostly to Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, than were admitted to its local universities. By 1994, the number of students at local universities surpassed that going overseas; however, the international character of Hong Kong's universities remained clearly visible in the composition of their academic staff. Approximately 90 percent of those with doctorates earned them outside of Hong Kong. This ensures Hong Kong's integration into the global academy for a long time to come. This chapter will look at some of the more salient aspects of Hong Kong's membership in the global academy. It will do this by examining the characteristics of its academic staff; their conditions of employment, professional work and attitudes toward governance; and the relationship between education and society. These characteristics will be compared with those of academic staff in other parts of the global academy. Finally, ongoing links with the global academy will be discussed.

Hong Kong's academic profession has much to gain or lose in the coming years as it becomes swallowed up by China. It is more closely bound to Western university traditions and practices than is the case elsewhere in Asia. This gives Hong Kong the potential to influence the academic profession in China by offering a unique model of successful East--West academic integration. In addition, given the status of intellectuals in China, Hong Kong's reincorporation into the People's Republic of China in 1997 could have major implications for its aca-

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