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劉教授觀點:打造大灣區創新中心,專業教育至關重要

2019年3月21日

劉寧榮對專業教育在大灣區長遠規劃中的關鍵作用進行了深入探討,並表示香港應充分利用其在專業教育領域的豐富經驗承擔起相應角色。

《粵港澳大灣區發展規劃綱要》在香港備受矚目。《綱要》倡導在珠江三角洲實行進壹步的整合協作,為大灣區發展引入了新機遇。

作為綱領性文件,《綱要》以在大灣區建立創新和技術產業為中心,同時強調發展現代服務業的重要性。有鑒於此,香港在促進專業服務發展方面,被賦予舉足輕重的地位。

雖然香港的角色在政策規劃中已有明確界定,但如何采取具體措施抓住這壹前所未有的機遇仍然懸而未決。將大灣區轉變為矽谷式創新中心並發展現代服務業是壹項宏偉計劃,成功與否將取決於人才的實力。

但在壹個領域迄今尚未得到應有的足夠重視——而香港顯然可以在這方面對建設大灣區這個創新中心做出自己的貢獻——就是專業教育。我們有著60多年專業教育的豐富經驗,雖然香港同樣面對迫切需要進行專業教育體系的改革以滿足新的需求。

專業教育的歷史可以追溯到100年前。彼時對醫療服務的需求日益增長,而後是法律服務。隨後大學建立起包括商學院和新聞學院在內的眾多專業教育學院,推動專業教育發展進入新時代。

隨著數十年前西方國家高等教育的蓬勃發展,專業教育範疇已超出了原先的範圍,且擴展至應用型或跨學科的學術課程,並幫助學生為特定領域的職業生涯做好準備。以哥倫比亞大學專業研究學院為例,它目前在跨學科領域提供了25個其他學院不具備的專業碩士學位課程,這對於那些有專業經驗並希望提高技能的人來說,是最有價值的。因此,應充分利用專業教育促進大灣區的人才發展。

這壹領域的發展極其重要。香港貿易發展局的數據顯示,第三產業占大灣區生產總值的比重僅為62.2%,相比之下,紐約都市圈為89.4%,舊金山灣區為82.5%。香港已經由制造業經濟轉為服務型經濟,2017年第三產業占地區生產總值的比重超過92%,但在同壹年深圳的第三產業僅占地區生產總值的52%。

香港在過去的發展中重塑為專業服務中心,擁有專業教育人才培養的悠久歷史,是提供專業課程以滿足大灣區日益增長人才需求的理想之地。

顯而易見,作為世界上最有生機活力、發展最快的經濟體之壹,盡管中國內地和香港的大學畢業生人數不斷增加,人才供應仍然是大灣區所有企業和行業面臨的主要挑戰。

專業教育是壹種長期的、專業化的、智能的訓練,是應對人才需求的最佳方式。前海有關部門表示,為打造“中國曼哈頓”,深圳需要吸引至少65萬名專業人才來自貿區工作。對於大灣區未來發展所需的人才量級而言,這個數字僅是冰山壹角。

然而,四年本科教育通常不會教授各類專業人員所需的專業知識和技術技能,這是許多國家的普遍狀況。專業教育比傳統的大學課程能更快響應新出現的需求,因為應用型和專業課程設計總是關註特定學科的最新發展,可以更好地滿足學習者的需求。

我在專業教育領域過去10年的經驗,清晰見證了中國內地專業教育市場的巨大潛力,以及香港的大學在這方面的優勢。我們在香港大學SPACE中國商業學院開設20個研究生級別的管理專業課程,已經招收了13,000多名在職專業人士和高管人員,包括居住在大灣區的香港永久居民。

專業教育的另壹個重要特征是“終身學習”,讓公民在完成正規高等教育後還可以保持智力活躍、信息靈通。為獲得就業能力和競爭優勢,終身學習應該成為每個人的責任。因不涉及政府資金,香港的大學跨境從事這類活動的爭議比較少。

更為重要的是,專業教育跨境合作將讓內地與香港的各類專業人才走到壹起,從而有助於豐富香港的人才庫,更好地發揮其中國“超級聯絡人”的作用。因此,我們應該珍視這個機會,充分利用自身的優勢,造福兩地民眾。

 

Liu Ningrong discusses the crucial role professional education will play in the visionary plan and says HK can capitalize on its rich expertise in this area

The Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area was much anticipated in Hong Kong. The plan advocates further integration and collaboration in the Pearl River Delta and this has opened up new and exciting opportunities for us.

The blueprint centers on establishing the innovation and technology industries in the Bay Area, while highlighting the importance of developing modern service industries. In this context, Hong Kong is in particular given a special role to promote the development of its professional services.

While Hong Kong’s role has been clearly defined in policy initiatives, it’s still up in the air how the city can grab the opportunities presented to us unprecedentedly. The success of the ambitious plan to transform the Bay Area into a Silicon Valley-style innovation hub and to develop the modern service industry will undoubtedly depend on the strength of its talents.

However, one area that has not received sufficient attention — but it’s clearly what we can contribute to develop this innovation powerhouse — is professional education, which we have more than 60 years of rich experience, even though we’re equally facing the urgency to revamp our own system in professional education in order to meet up the new demands.

Professional education can date back to 100 years ago when the rising needs called for the medical services, and later on, the legal services. This development expanded to a new era when universities established many professional schools, which include the business school and the journalism school, among many others.

With the higher education boom occurring in the Western countries decades ago, however, professional education has gone beyond its original scope and increased its importance to provide the academic programs which are applied or interdisciplinary in focus, and to help students prepare for careers in specific fields. Take Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies for example. It currently offers 25 professional master degree programs in the interdisciplinary areas which are not available in other schools within the university. They are most valuable for people with professional experience looking to develop their skills. Thus, professional education can boost talent development in the Bay Area.

This is highly crucial, considering that the overall GDP share of the tertiary sector in the Bay Area is only 62.2 percent, in comparison with 89.4 percent for the New York Metropolitan Area and 82.5 percent for the San Francisco Bay Area, according to Hong Kong Trade Development Council. While Hong Kong has shifted from a manufacturing-based economy to a service economy with the tertiary sector counting more than 92 percent of overall GDP output in 2017, Shenzhen only generates as low as 52 percent of GDP from the same sector.

For the past development of reshaping our city into the center of professional services, and the history of professional education for talent training, Hong Kong is best positioned as a center of excellence to offer professional programs to meet the rising needs for talents in the Bay Area.

Clearly, even with the increasing number of university graduates in both the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, the supply of talents remains the primary challenge facing all businesses and industries in the region — which is regarded as one of the most vibrant, dynamic, and rapidly growing economies in the world.

Professional education, which is considered as the prolonged, specialized, and intellectual training, is the best formula and a way forward in dealing with the talent demand. According to the local authorities in Qianhai, they need to attract at least 650,000 professionals to work in Shenzhen’s free economic zone in their attempt to build China’s Manhattan. Indeed, this number only shows the iceberg tip for the talent needs revived by the new development of the Bay Area.

However, the specialized knowledge and technical skills required of all types of professionals are usually not provided in their four-year undergraduate studies. This is not uncommon in many countries. And professional education can respond to the emerging needs much quicker than the traditional university courses, and the curriculum designed for the applied and professional programs always focus on the latest developments in the specific discipline to better serve the needs of learners.

My own experience in the professional education sector over the past 10 years clearly demonstrates the huge market potential for professional education in the Chinese mainland and the advantage the universities in Hong Kong can offer. By launching 20 postgraduate-level professional management programs under HKU SPACE’s Institute for China Business, we have enrolled more than 13,000 working professionals and executives, including Hong Kong permanent residents living in the Bay Area.

Another important feature characterized in professional education is lifelong learning, so that citizens can keep intellectually alive and informed after completing their higher and formal education. It is the responsibilities of each individual to carry out the continuous learning in order to acquire the employability and competitive strengths. Therefore, it will be less controversial for the universities in Hong Kong to engage in such endeavors across the boundary since no government funding is involved in such activities.

More importantly, the venture on cross-boundary cooperation in professional education will bring various professionals from the two sides together, which in return will help enrich the talent pools in Hong Kong when the city is innovating itself to play an everchanging role as a “super connector” for China. Hence we should not overlook this opportunity that can capitalize on our own strengths and benefit people on both sides.

 

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劉寧榮 教授

Prof. N.R. Liu

香港大學SPACE學院 常務副院長(商學及中國發展)

香港大學SPACE企業研究院 執行院長

香港大學SPACE中國商業學院 執行院長