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刘教授观点:打造大湾区创新中心,专业教育至关重要

21 Mar 2019

刘宁荣对专业教育在大湾区长远规划中的关键作用进行了深入探讨,并表示香港应充分利用其在专业教育领域的丰富经验承担起相应角色。

《粤港澳大湾区发展规划纲要》在香港备受瞩目。《纲要》倡导在珠江三角洲实行进一步的整合协作,为大湾区发展引入了新机遇。

作为纲领性文件,《纲要》以在大湾区建立创新和技术产业为中心,同时强调发展现代服务业的重要性。有鉴于此,香港在促进专业服务发展方面,被赋予举足轻重的地位。

虽然香港的角色在政策规划中已有明确界定,但如何采取具体措施抓住这一前所未有的机遇仍然悬而未决。将大湾区转变为硅谷式创新中心并发展现代服务业是一项宏伟计划,成功与否将取决于人才的实力。

但在一个领域迄今尚未得到应有的足够重视——而香港显然可以在这方面对建设大湾区这个创新中心做出自己的贡献——就是专业教育。我们有着60多年专业教育的丰富经验,虽然香港同样面对迫切需要进行专业教育体系的改革以满足新的需求。

专业教育的历史可以追溯到100年前。彼时对医疗服务的需求日益增长,而后是法律服务。随后大学建立起包括商学院和新闻学院在内的众多专业教育学院,推动专业教育发展进入新时代。

随着数十年前西方国家高等教育的蓬勃发展,专业教育范畴已超出了原先的范围,且扩展至应用型或跨学科的学术课程,并帮助学生为特定领域的职业生涯做好准备。以哥伦比亚大学专业研究学院为例,它目前在跨学科领域提供了25个其他学院不具备的专业硕士学位课程,这对于那些有专业经验并希望提高技能的人来说,是最有价值的。因此,应充分利用专业教育促进大湾区的人才发展。

这一领域的发展极其重要。香港贸易发展局的数据显示,第三产业占大湾区生产总值的比重仅为62.2%,相比之下,纽约都市圈为89.4%,旧金山湾区为82.5%。香港已经由制造业经济转为服务型经济,2017年第三产业占地区生产总值的比重超过92%,但在同一年深圳的第三产业仅占地区生产总值的52%。

香港在过去的发展中重塑为专业服务中心,拥有专业教育人才培养的悠久历史,是提供专业课程以满足大湾区日益增长人才需求的理想之地。

显而易见,作为世界上最有生机活力、发展最快的经济体之一,尽管中国内地和香港的大学毕业生人数不断增加,人才供应仍然是大湾区所有企业和行业面临的主要挑战。

专业教育是一种长期的、专业化的、智能的训练,是应对人才需求的最佳方式。前海有关部门表示,为打造“中国曼哈顿”,深圳需要吸引至少65万名专业人才来自贸区工作。对于大湾区未来发展所需的人才量级而言,这个数字仅是冰山一角。

然而,四年本科教育通常不会教授各类专业人员所需的专业知识和技术技能,这是许多国家的普遍状况。专业教育比传统的大学课程能更快响应新出现的需求,因为应用型和专业课程设计总是关注特定学科的最新发展,可以更好地满足学习者的需求。

我在专业教育领域过去10年的经验,清晰见证了中国内地专业教育市场的巨大潜力,以及香港的大学在这方面的优势。我们在香港大学SPACE中国商业学院开设20个研究生级别的管理专业课程,已经招收了13,000多名在职专业人士和高管人员,包括居住在大湾区的香港永久居民。

专业教育的另一个重要特征是“终身学习”,让公民在完成正规高等教育后还可以保持智力活跃、信息灵通。为获得就业能力和竞争优势,终身学习应该成为每个人的责任。因不涉及政府资金,香港的大学跨境从事这类活动的争议比较少。

更为重要的是,专业教育跨境合作将让内地与香港的各类专业人才走到一起,从而有助于丰富香港的人才库,更好地发挥其中国“超级联络人”的作用。因此,我们应该珍视这个机会,充分利用自身的优势,造福两地民众。

 

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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刘宁荣 教授

Prof. N.R. Liu

香港大学SPACE学院 常务副院长(商学及中国发展)

香港大学SPACE企业研究院 执行院长

香港大学SPACE中国商业学院 执行院长