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Nurturing Hong Kong’s greatest resource

Published on Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Professor Albert Chan

A vibrant society and thriving economy rely on the dynamism of the next generation in order to flourish and grow. As a small territory with limited resources, Hong Kong’s human capital is one of its key strengths contributing to future success. Local universities play a crucial role in shaping this pool of talent and, increasingly, are also uniquely positioned to groom professionals for important roles in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world.

In the arena of tertiary education, we are keenly aware that our graduates will have to find jobs in a knowledge-based globalised economy. The world needs young leaders who, besides being academically and professionally qualified, are all-round achievers. And Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) is well placed to meet this requirement, having embraced the concept of whole-person education since its founding.

Recently, HKBU refined the seven attributes all our graduates must possess. In addition to specialising in their chosen fields, students acquire the broader attributes needed to thrive in the modern workplace – language proficiency, information literacy and IT skills, and numerical and problem-solving abilities. They also come to possess a wide range of cultural and general knowledge, an international perspective, a strong sense of ethics, and the ability to be team players. We encourage them to think critically and creatively and to be lifelong learners, firmly believing that these attributes are essential to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Drawing on Hong Kong’s strengths as a world city, HKBU has sought to broaden students’ outlook and international experience. We bring the world to our campus with the help of faculty, visiting scholars and overseas students and give students the opportunity to travel on exchange programmes or internships.

The chief executives of major organisations often identify creativity as the top leadership competency required by enterprises building for future success. Economists also see this quality as an important element in the production of new technologies and products and, consequently, for economic growth.

At HKBU, we foster creativity in our students through a variety of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. In 2011, we founded the Institute of Creativity, which functions as an engine of innovation at the university and has three Nobel laureates as advisers. The institute’s aim is to fuel innovation in research and nurture creative initiatives. We invite world-renowned scholars and distinguished luminaries from different fields to deliver keynote lectures and interact with students, thus providing both inspiration and practical advice.

Since its inception, the university as a whole has taken a number of bold steps. These include the Department of Management’s pioneering approach to human resources management (HRM)
programmes for 15-plus years. It has seen a focus on ethics as a core value and the early introduction of advanced strategic and tactical subjects in the HRM curriculum.

At undergraduate level, our HRM programmes equip students with the full spectrum of appropriate knowledge, while our postgraduate courses aim to hone the abilities of people already
in the workforce. In this way, senior HR professionals gain a strategic Asia-Pacific perspective within the context of globalisation and learn about grooming individuals with little or no formal HRM training for a career in the field.

The university is also active in knowledge transfer to industry through the Centre for Human Resources Strategy and Development. This conducts studies and organises events promoting best practices to the business community and the general public. Over the years, the centre has played a groundbreaking role in raising awareness about the importance of work-life balance, family-friendly employment, the minimum wage, and having a productive aged workforce. All these issues have come to take centre stage in the debate about livelihood and lifestyles in Hong Kong today.

Professor Albert Chan is president and vice-chancellor of Hong Kong Baptist University

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