‘We need to train talent’: will Hong Kong’s applied sciences universities fix manpower crunch or fall flat amid lingering ‘second class’ label?

Hong Kong graduate Luka Chow had been an accountant for five years and was about to be promoted to manager when he decided he wanted to work in healthcare instead. He signed up for a new four-year degree programme at Tung Wah College (TWC), a private institution, and was among its first batch of physiotherapy graduates last year. “I wanted to help people suffering physical pain,” recalled Chow, now in his 30s. “If there was no such college for me to study physiotherapy, I’m afraid I would still be an accountant.”

He said his first degree was focused on academic knowledge, whereas the second emphasised practical elements to train students to become professionals.

Hong Kong to open to first university of applied sciences next year, John Lee says

“We had to complete about 1,000 hours of clinical practicum. The teachers were all so caring, some of them were former physiotherapists,” he said.

Although Tung Wah College has not yet received private university status, Chow’s degree is considered academically equivalent to similar degrees from other campuses in Hong Kong and around the world.

The college is among institutes in the running to be upgraded to a university of applied sciences (UAS), a subject raised by Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu in his policy address in October of last year.

He said such institutions would provide “an alternative path to success for young people who aspire to pursue a career in the technical professions” and Hong Kong could have its first UAS as soon as next year.

Read more : The Star


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