Hong Kong universities make inroads into Chinese mainland

Updated: 2012-10-16 08:04

By Huang Yuli in Shenzhen, Guangdong, and Cheng Yingqi in Beijing (China Daily)

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Hong Kong universities continue to make a concerted effort to share their educational resources with mainland students.

The latest example was the foundation-laying ceremony for the Shenzhen campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which took place on Thursday in Longgang district in Shenzhen.

According to the Guangdong-based New Express Daily newspaper, the Shenzhen campus will be mainly for mainland students with a limit of 7,000 that will eventually hit 11,000. Only a small number of openings will be available for Hong Kong students, the newspaper said.

The Shenzhen campus plans to enroll students next year, using exactly the same enrollment requirements as the main campus in Hong Kong, and its students will receive academic degrees from CUHK, the newspaper said.

But in an interview with local newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily, CUHK President Joseph Jao-yiu Sung said recruitment might be postponed until 2014, to allow enough time for preparation.

The CUHK Shenzhen campus will recruit teaching staff from around the world, providing salaries similar to those at the Hong Kong campus, Sung said.

According to an official news release, CUHK signed the cooperation agreement with the Shenzhen government in 2010, and the Shenzhen campus's plan got the Ministry of Education's approval this year.

The Shenzhen campus will be built on 100 hectares in Longgang district. The first of the two stages of construction as planned will cost 1.5 billion yuan ($239.1 million).

The CUHK Shenzhen campus will conduct courses both in Chinese and English. The subjects it offers will focus on science, engineering and business in the beginning, and later expand to humanities, law and social sciences. Possible subjects to offer include global finance, marketing, risk management, design, energy science and genomics.

Meanwhile, the University of Hong Kong, another famous school in the special administrative region, has reached an initial agreement with the Shenzhen government to establish its own Shenzhen campus. The initial agreement is that the Shenzhen government will provide 100 hectares of land.

Similarly, Hong Kong Polytechnic University signed a "memorandum of understanding" with the Dongguan city government in November 2009 to open a campus in Dongguan, also in the province.

Hong Kong Baptist University was the first Hong Kong university to run a campus in the mainland. In 2005, the campus it jointly operated with the Beijing Normal University was opened in Zhuhai, in Guangdong province, north of Macao.

"The introduction of Hong Kong universities or overseas universities provides more alternatives to students when they are choosing colleges. After all, these universities have advantages in terms of faculty and curriculum," said Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, a non-governmental research organization.

However, Xiong said simply opening more campuses cannot change the whole recruitment system in the Chinese mainland, and "the education reform will only be boosted by allowing mainland universities to compete with overseas and Hong Kong universities".

(China Daily 10/16/2012 page4)