In the pursuit of knowledge at university level, students learn much about themselves as well as the world around them. Indeed, an essential purpose of every institution of higher education is to prepare students for bigger challenges ahead and help them find their place in the overall scheme of things.
Dr Pan Su-yan, Associate Professor in the Department of Social Sciences at The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK), clearly recognises those responsibilities.
“There is always uncertainty, but higher education should engage students in the process of social transformation,” she said.
Dr Pan runs the Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Global and Hong Kong Studies. The programme is for senior-year entry only and helps students comprehend the transformations and developments taking place in Hong Kong and the rest of the world. It covers a number of areas including political science, cultural studies, sociology, and Hong Kong’s complex interactions with mainland China and the international community.
Bachelor of Education programme at EdUHK shows students how to evaluate global issues from a historical perspective
Historically, Hong Kong has often been seen as a gateway or bridge, facilitating links between mainland China and the wider world.
“But, today, a paradox exists,” Dr Pan said. “Within Hong Kong, there is concern for the future, with young people in particular questioning their opportunities for upward mobility. However, seen from outside, the view of the city is very positive, with the feeling that many opportunities exist.”
In this respect, she noted that it is important for young people in Hong Kong to understand how society works. Civic education at school is one part of that, but students should also consider the key issues affecting the city, the country and the global community. The programme helps them do just that, taking their understanding to a higher level.
One of the central lessons is that people everywhere must be ready for changing circumstances and expectations. They must become familiar with the idea of a “fluid identity” because nowadays, it is not easy to define someone just by their nationality or certain outward characteristics. It is, though, important to study history to gain a broader perspective and a better understanding of ourselves.
“The mission is to prepare students for an ever-changing society,” Pan said. “Students are the change makers of the future. They need to understand that their actions have consequences. Understanding how the past has helped shape the present is key to understanding how the present can affect the future. By studying the self and then radiating that knowledge outwards, students can gain a better understanding of the bigger picture in society.”
The programme makes use of enquiry-based learning and includes cross-cultural outreach experiences. There are overseas study tours, exchange programmes and overseas internships to enhance and reinforce learning.
As a result, graduates will be highly competitive if applying for jobs with the Hong Kong government, non-governmental organisations, public companies, media outlets or private-sector enterprises. Others may choose to do further studies at the master’s level in China studies, cultural studies, political science or sociology.
Find out more about the programmes on offer at www.eduhk.hk/degree