CHINA Politicization leads to decline in Hong Kong university rankings


Politicization leads to decline in Hong Kong university rankings

People's Daily app

19:34, November 29, 2019

CGTN.jpg(Photo: CGTN)

The rankings of universities in Hong Kong dropped, according to the latest reports of various global university rankings. And education authorities said politicization on the campuses is a long-term drag on academic development in Hong Kong, leading to a brain drain. 

According to the latest QS Asia University Rankings released on Wednesday, National University of Singapore continues to hold the top position. The top three universities in Hong Kong--the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong--rank third, eighth and 10th, respectively, a drop of one rank compared with last year.

As the Times Higher Education World University Ranking by subject released last week shows, the rankings of some subjects at Hong Kong’s universities also dropped. For instance, the ranking of law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong slipped from 49th to 91st, and engineering and technology at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology fell from 70th to 96th. The world university ranking published in September by this organization attributed this to the instability in terms of teaching and research.

Zhang Minbing, expert on HK educational policy, said the influence of the current social riots on higher education may not be reflected in real-time by the rankings above, but he worries that the politicization of campuses might continue, which will create a negative impact on teaching and research at the universities.

Higher education in Hong Kong has suffered since the illegal movement Occupy Central in 2014. The importance of academics and research has been devalued by the unnecessary political atmosphere, he said.

Some Hong Kong universities have become the main battleground of mobsters, and campus facilities have been ruined. 

Zhang said he didn’t expect that university campuses would become scenes of violence. Aside from the physical violence, speech has also been brutally limited. Many students and faculty dare not speak up, which affects the academic atmosphere.

Zhang pointed out that the attractiveness of Hong Kong universities has been reduced due to the unsafe campuses. Because universities around the world compete for talent, world-class scholars and high-achieving students have many options outside Hong Kong.

Zhang Jianzong, Chief Secretary for Administration said talents are the most valuable resource. If violence continues, politics will override education, which would cause irreparable damage to this generation of students. Moreover, Hong Kong’s economic development will be hindered, and the competitiveness of Hong Kong will be weakened because of a brain drain, the stifling of teaching and research, and damage to the universities’ international reputation.

(Compiled by Tan Bowen)

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