Blog central for Australian LibrariesAboutContributingAustralian library blogs A view from Hong Kong
I recently had a family holiday in Hong Kong. We were kept up-to-date by copies of the South China Morning Post, kindly provided by our Hotel.Its always interesting to read foreign newspapers to get a differentview of the world, and it was refreshing to find that the Ashes testwas not dominating the pages, although it did rate a mention in thesports pages.
I kept a copy of the Education supplement from December the 16th asthere were a few topics that I felt were worth a mention. If you areresearching the net generation you might also want to include theterm generation c in your search strings, where the c stands forcontent or cell phone. Brendan OMalleys article (Generation Creport card on universities: must improve, p. E5) covering the Going Global2 conferencein the UK discussed this generation and some of the factors foruniversities to consider in attracting these potential students.
when it came to choosing which country never mindwhich university, department or course they (generation c) had anunprecedented and growing choice Colin Gilligan.
According to Gilligan, these potential students hold all the cards,and they are pickier than anybody before them, with content coming outof their ears.
The article also reported that major English-speaking countries werenot encouraging their own youth to travel overseas for universityeducation and that traffic was almost one-way. Figures for Australiawere quoted in the article with 7000 Australian students goingoverseas, but 200,000 international students coming in.
The article also touched on the effect on rural and urban poor indeveloping countries where Universities are working hard to attract thebest and brightest from overseas to secure reputations for excellenceand foster international research partnerships. It was estimated thatsome 170 million students would need to be catered for by universitiesfor their countries to achieve developed status. Are theseprospective students being overlooked in the quest for internationalreputations of excellence"
Hong Kong is currently being marketed as an education hubfor South-East Asia. Ive always considered a bit of culture shock aneducational experience and would encourage students to broaden theirhorizons with some overseas study experience if they can. But if youare the allergic or asthmatic type, then Hong Kong might not be anideal locale for extended study. Air pollution was thick in the sky,even on the clearest day and I woke each morning with red eyes and itwasnt from overindulging! But, it felt very safe and friendly evenwhen out at night shopping.
Education was a hot topic for general letter writers to the paperduring our stay. It seems that school teachers are doing it tough inHong Kong with some reporting that their school staffrooms are oftenhalf-full at 9.30pm and on weekends as they try to keep up withadministrative tasks. In the same education supplement, Clem and NoraTong outlined a tumultuous year in education with teacher suicides andmass protests over education reforms (Suicides, mass protests and somevery embarrassing translation, p. E3).
I managed a very quick visit to the Hong Kong Public Librarysbranch in Central. It was very, very quiet in the reading room and thepublic law library section was almost empty. There are some photos on FlickR,including a sign asking people to walk gently. I grabbed a fewbrochures as well, and it looks like the public is well-served by therange of electronic resources on offer and according to my guide-bookinternet access is free in the library too.
On a lighter note, it was refreshing to see Hong Kong embraceChristmas with no fear (or at least sign of fear) of litigation orpolitical correctness. Nativity scenes, Santa Town, Christmas trees,and decorations abounded and the air was filled with Christmas carolsand songs. Even the buildings were lit up with Christmasgreetings. Meanwhile though, we heard of litigation in the UK aboutsome perceived slight due to Christmas celebrations and read of theU.S. custom of only wishing happy holidays so as not to upset anynon-Christians.
So in the spirit of harmony, I hope you had a happy Christmas orHannukah, and offer best wishes for the new year, whenever it may fallfor you. I look forward to Diwali, Easter and any other festivitiesthat bring joy to our community.
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