|By Mandy Chan, Heep Yunn School|
Since the 1980s, Hong Kong has become famous for four industries: financial services, tourism, shipping and professional services.
But because of keen competition from other parts of Asia, the city now needs to invest more in its education services.
Technology and knowledge are becoming increasingly important to the global economy.
To succeed in the future Hongkongers will need to be creative and have a mix of skills.
This is where the new '3-3-4' structure comes in: it is intended to develop the qualities students need so they can continue to learn for the rest of their lives. These qualities include creativity and resourcefulness, and the ability to work with others and think critically.
But education can also make money for the city in a more direct way. Hong Kong is not only famous for its high-quality university education, but also for its fusion of eastern and western cultures. This combination attracts thousands of students from all over the world.
While there is a growing demand for university education throughout Asia, many mainland students come to Hong Kong because they admire the free flow of information and ideas in the territory.
In addition, more and more foreign students have come to consider Hong Kong a route into the mainland market.
One way to make more of this increasing demand for places would be to privatise universities.
Some may argue that the educational quality of private universities could not be guaranteed. However, these institutions could be more flexible when it comes to the design of the curriculum, the admissions process and teachers' salaries.
In a system based on a standard curriculum, students have to fit into a fixed range of courses. However, private universities could offer courses designed to suit the needs of a wide range of local and foreign students.
Educational services should not be seen as a short-term expenditure, but rather, a long-term investment. We should always be prepared to explore more creative educational methods.
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