Cry CU 有關中大國際化討論

星期一, 2月 14, 2005

徐立之走漫長絲路

人物-財經新聞P21
信報財經新聞
胡招2005-02-14
短打

  在中文大學師生與校友為母校「國際化」、用什語文教學等問題,爭辯得不亦樂乎時,中大的對手香港大學,其校長徐立之則在該校網站發表一篇《新絲路》的文章。

  這是徐校長去年底到北美(包括洛杉磯、三藩市、多倫多與溫哥華)訪問時多篇講稿的綜合文章,用英文寫成。他以絲路敦煌引出香港作為新絲路的概念,指出教育就如絲路上的駱駝,雖然以百年樹人的緩慢速度前進,但卻是東西交通所必須的工具,令香港有能力轉型成一個增值通道。

  文章裏附錄了一些數字:港大九百三十五名教員中,百分之五十四非本地;但本科生則只有百分之五是非本地生,碩士以上學位非本地生則有百分之二十。

  教員的國際化,有助學生的視野(但不是必然,還須視學生本身的主觀意願與吸收程度)。中國於二十一世紀要創造一百家領頭大學。香港因為教員國際化程度較高的特色,也許能藉以爭取躋身一百大。

  中大其實亦「國際化」已久;而且,上課中英夾雜,同學們的口語及文章也經常如此。但中大背負中國文化歷史使命,因此在觸到教學語文是否用中文這個論題時,就特別敏感。恰巧徐校長亦中大舊生,他在港大官方網站上只用英文,但這並不反映他不會寫中文。相反,胡招讀網上討論中大教學語文的文章,用的雖是中文,卻滿目砂石,不知道那些提意見的人對保衛中文花過多少勞力?

[全文]

The New Silk Road (A Renaissance of Asian Development)

In late October and early November, Vice-Chancellor Lap-Chee Tsui toured the United States and Canada, visiting alumni chapters and giving public lectures on the role of HKU as a vital educational link to China. In speeches in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver, he outlined his vision for the University.

In ancient times, the Silk Road was China's link to the outside world. It was primarily a trade route, but it also enabled cultural exchanges for music, religion, art and, of course, the art of silk making. Today, Hong Kong, and the University of Hong Kong, in particular, stands astride a New Silk Road, linking China to the world and the world to China. At the center of this new road, in my view, is education, and I want to make use of this metaphor to suggest how one can continue to exchange with China culturally through education. There has been growing interest all over the world in Asia, and especially China, in the past decade. This is hardly surprising, because in the last quarter of a century, China's reforms and open door policy have led to one of the fastest periods of economic growth in history. China's GDP has quadrupled in this period, and many now predict that, by making the most of foreign trade, investment and technological advances, China's GDP will again quadruple in the next two decades. By then, China will have overtaken the United States to become the largest economy in the world, thereby regaining a position she has held for much of human history.

Dunhuang is a city on the old Silk Road, and because of its historical importance, it is sometimes synonymous with the Silk Road itself. It is located where the northern and southern routes of the road met. It was from there that cultures from Europe, the Middle East and India entered China. I would argue that Hong Kong occupies an equally important location on the New Silk Road to China. It has a unique position in Asia as a natural gateway, where East meets West, to new economic opportunities in China and the rest of Asia. After all, one-third of the world's population lives in our region, and half of the world's population lives within a five-hour flight from Hong Kong.

But, Hong Kong is different from Dunhuang. It is more than just a transportation gateway. It is what we could call a "value-added gateway." Hong Kong transforms, translates, adapts, or perhaps even buffers the cultures of the East and the West as they meet. It is the "SmartLink to China," in the words of John Gilbaugh, Senior Vice President Wells Fargo HSBC Trade Bank and director of HKASC. Favorable policies, an advanced politico-legal institutional framework, sophisticated management systems, deep business knowledge, respect for intellectual property, and overall transparency in business practices are the hallmark of Hong Kong.

When you think about the traditional mode of transportation on the old Silk Road, the image of a camel springs to mind. It was a slow, ponderous vehicle, and certainly not a suitable means of travel in this day and age. When I talk of traveling on the New Silk Road, though, I have in mind something different from a physical mode of transportation. I believe the indispensable vehicle for the New Silk Road is education. It is a powerful vehicle for bringing the East and West closer together. Education brings together cultures and fosters relationships, builds networks of trade and economy, and perhaps even contributes to world peace by promoting understanding and reducing conflicts. But education, like a camel, is not necessarily a speedy vehicle, either. We have a Chinese proverb that says, "It takes 10 years to grow a tree, but 100 years to educate a person." Education as a vehicle will be slow but it will surely provide a prosperous future as we journey on the New Silk Road.

China has certainly been putting great emphasis on education, especially higher education. China has a population of 1.3 billion. The one-child policy has heightened parents' demand for a suitable education, including university education, for their children to ensure a better life. But as we are all acutely aware, university education does not come cheap. With over 2,000 higher education institutions in China, resources must be focused.

Therefore, the Chinese government decided to create 100 leading universities fit for the demands of the 21st century. The idea is to focus resources on a small number of world class, comprehensive and research-led universities. The strategy will cater to the 1.1 million new entrants to higher education institutions each year. This is a huge number. In addition to developing China's own higher education system within the country, the government has also made use of the educational Silk Road by reaching out to the world. During the past 25 years, China has changed its totally closed door policy to one that supports overseas studies. Under this open door policy, some 700,000 Chinese students have studied abroad, especially in North America and in Europe. Of these, over 600,000 have returned home. These figures are growing exponentially. Each year, some 120,000 students (spending RMB 4-5 billion yuan) continue to study abroad. This is an enormous talent pool that will contribute to China's future development.

Let me come back to how Hong Kong can contribute. After more than 150 years of colonial rule, with over a hundred years' history of higher education, Hong Kong is ready to take up the challenge of being an educational hub through which Western societies can find a way into China, and vice versa.

The University of Hong Kong is in a unique position to play a major role as an educational vehicle on the New Silk Road, from its research and teaching activities to its deliberate outreach to international students and faculty. I need only mention the role HKU's Microbiology Department played in unraveling the mysteries of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS. Colleagues in the Microbiology Department were the first to identify the causative viral agent, which happened to be a new strain of coronavirus. Later, they also identified the animal sink where the virus originated.

These contributions and many others were due to the fine research tradition at the department. You may recall the bird flu incidents in 1997 and 2001. It was the lessons from our experience of the bird flu that saved Hong Kong, and made possible research results that have benefited the world. Our colleagues are now frequently asked to help solve similar problems in nearby countries. For example, they were asked to look at the recent bird flu situation in Thailand.
On the educational program side, HKU has been designated the regional training centre for the World Trade Organization. In that capacity, we will play an important role in the successful development of the WTO in Asia. It was indeed memorable to see government representatives from 32 countries gathered at HKU to study WTO law and trade relations at the opening ceremony earlier this year.

Our Journalism and Media Studies Centre has also been exemplary in fostering international exchanges. The JMSC has brought distinguished editors and reporters from America to Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai. It has also arranged for mainland journalists to go the other way - starting in Hong Kong and visiting North America.

These activities in the area of research and educational programs are complemented by our continuing efforts to deepen the international character of HKU, so that we can perform our role as a vital vehicle on the New Silk Road. We work hard to make sure that at least 20% of our students have a chance to engage in exchange programs worldwide; this is consistent with our whole person training agenda at the University. We plan to increase our proportion of non-local students from 10% currently to 20% in 5 years. Although only 25% of our non-local students currently come from countries other than China, we hope to increase the proportion further in the coming years.

As China and the rest of Asia continue to grow to become the largest economy in the world, HKU as the premier university of the region will take its rightful place among the top echelon of world-class universities. This is the best way we can contribute to the development of China, and make the New Silk Road as significant as the old one.


http://web.hku.hk/%7Eanalbum/speech.htm

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