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Globalisation, Societies and Education
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Academic entrepreneurialism in a context of altered governance: some reflections of higher education in Hong Kong
Rui Yang
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Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Published online: 03 Sep 2012.

To cite this article: Rui Yang (2012): Academic entrepreneurialism in a context of altered governance: some reflections of higher education in Hong Kong, Globalisation, Societies and Education, 10:3, 387-402 To link to this article:

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It argues that while Hong Kong’s entrepreneurial spirit is strong in the local culture and business. September 2012. Keywords: academic entrepreneurship.710475 http://www. using Hong Kong as an . and discusses how entrepreneurship has been demonstrated in Hong Kong higher education. Scholars have not yet reached a consensus on the definition of entrepreneurship. Hong Kong. Although the study of entrepreneurship dates back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Mars and Rios-Aguilar 2010). No. Research on academic entrepreneurship in East Asia has been lacking. Higher education scholarship has increasingly applied entrepreneurial terminology and frameworks to studies on a wide range of market-oriented phenomena that include academic capitalism. This article ends by cautioning readers about the differences between academic and business especially in East Asia. governance Introduction Over the past one and a half decades. higher education. University of Hong Kong.tandfonline. academic entrepreneurship has only recently emerged as a growing focus of intellectual inquiry. Societies and Education Vol. the university. entrepreneurship and market-driven innovation have become more prevalent in higher education. there has been little effort to link the conceptualisation of entrepreneurship to higher education practices. its achievement in academic entrepreneurship is relatively low. final version received 28 March 2012) Downloaded by [Michigan State University] at 07:34 30 May 2013 Academic entrepreneurialism appears to have become global. 10. Despite the growing importance of an extensive body of research. Hong Kong (Received 30 November 2011.1080/14767724.Globalisation. This article contributes to the discussion by reviewing the rise of entrepreneurialism in Asian higher education.doi. it shifts its attention to entrepreneurship in Hong Kong. After some analyses of the definitions. technology transfer and university contributions to economic development.hku. entrepreneurship is very much a part of the fabric of contemporary higher education in many national systems. Like it or not. 387 Á402 Academic entrepreneurialism in a context of altered governance: some reflections of higher education in Hong Kong Rui Yang* Faculty of Education. where pathways of transformation *Email: yangrui@hkucc. 3. rationales and pathways of academic entrepreneurship. University systems around the globe are moving in the direction of a more entrepreneurial model of higher ISSN 1476-7724 print/ISSN 1476-7732 online # 2012 Taylor & Francis http://dx.

rather than explaining and predicting a unique set of empirical phenomena. Yang of the entrepreneurial university have appeared quite different from those in the West. there has been no single. New ideas. asking different questions and adopting different units of analysis.388 R. it derives from business. it can operate in any realm of human endeavour. In the higher education literature. few scholars have written on academic entrepreneurialism in East Asia. set in a context of altered governance. It is a process of fundamental transformation from innovative idea to enterprise and from enterprise to value. learning and curriculum development. Yet. However. This article attempts to examine the agenda of higher education in Hong Kong in response to the global trend of ‘academic entrepreneurialism’. Studies falling under the rubric of entrepreneurship have pursued a wide range of purposes and objectives. 217) have declared. conceptual or theoretical guidelines to justify the use of such proxies. which generally refers to the creation of Downloaded by [Michigan State University] at 07:34 30 May 2013 . entrepreneurship is much related to business. entrepreneurship has acquired an increasing presence. Existing research focuses overwhelmingly on examining market-oriented phenomena. Many researchers have labelled a wide variety of processes and strategies as entrepreneurial without explicitly providing a rationale for why they should be considered as such. Indeed. about which they are suspicious and disapproving. As Shane and Venkataraman (2000. many people in higher education eschew the notion of entrepreneurship. It is a multifaceted phenomenon that cuts across many disciplinary boundaries (Low and MacMillan 1988). theoretical perspectives and methodologies. universally accepted definition of entrepreneurship. Except for Mok (2001. However. failing to take into consideration in their analyses many other non/less-market-oriented activities. Its defining trait is the creation of a novel enterprise that the market is willing to adopt. entrepreneurship has become a broad label under which a hodgepodge of research is housed. 2005). It thus entails the commercialisation of an innovation. Academic entrepreneurship: definitions. They have operationalised terms such as ‘entrepreneurial activities’ or ‘entrepreneurial climate’ without offering technical. As a distinct mode of thought and action. rationales and pathways Definitions Support for enterprise and entrepreneurship development in higher education is not a new phenomenon. By fusing innovation and implementation. the word conjures up the spectre of a forprofit motive. such as teaching. Significant lessons could be learnt from the corporate sector that are relevant to academic entrepreneurship. products or organisational schemes matter little until they achieve concrete reality in the marketplace. it is a unique process that allows individuals to bring new ideas into being for the benefit of themselves and others. that is. until they are actually used. To them.

this value of the enterprise fosters a highly qualified labour force. Societies and Education 389 Downloaded by [Michigan State University] at 07:34 30 May 2013 an environment for active support of knowledge exploitation. institutional and societal levels. They largely fall into two categories. According to him. it helps to provide its staff members with an opportunity to advance their careers and contribute to the building of knowledge in a field. the first academic revolution happened in the late nineteenth century when the university mission was expanded from teaching to both teaching and research. Entrepreneurship has much to contribute to higher education. in particular with regional and local development agencies and local business. Rationales The rationale for an entrepreneurial university is in the growing focus of public policy on enhancing the role that the higher education sector plays in social and economic development. who calls the adaptation of entrepreneurship the ‘second academic revolution’. stimulation of entrepreneurial behaviour among all the members of and institutional structures in the academic community. Clark (2000) is arguably the most prominent advocate. serving national . For individual academics. focusing respectively on the delivering and receiving ends of education. Citing examples from the historical developments of modern universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University in the United States. For a higher learning institution. With the second academic revolution. The technical aspects of entrepreneurship including disruption. Advocates of entrepreneurship in higher education have provided various justifications. he argues that entrepreneurial spirit is a significant factor for their remarkable success. Another strong advocate is Etzkowitz (2008). It benefits academic programmes and meets societal needs. Such an educational product is a sustainable enterprise that generates value. and provides students with innovative pre-professional training and involvement and even a portal to higher earnings over a lifetime. On top of the traditional task of teaching. the sustainable value promotes a combination between professional career and personal satisfaction.Globalisation. product or organisational scheme can include the development and implementation of an innovative academic programme or a new and sustainable way of delivering a programme. Higher education is increasingly encouraged to engage with the stakeholder community. research was then assumed as the basic function of universities. The functional equivalent of commercialisation of an innovative idea. He insists that whether higher education has a future depends on the choice made by universities to remain in their traditional form or to react with an entrepreneurial spirit to the changes outside the academe. There are multiple intersections between entrepreneurship and higher education. For a nation. innovation and value creation have significant implications for higher education at individual. Universities were transformed from institutions of knowledge dissemination and cultural preservation to institutions for new knowledge creation.

People need to be more competitive and to have a more proactive approach to life.390 R. Worrell. working in a world of fluid organisational structures (Ghoshal and Gratton 2002. and Cooper 2000). Downloaded by [Michigan State University] at 07:34 30 May 2013 . A ‘Triple Helix’ has been invented to describe interactive relationships between them (Etzkowitz 2008. the focus on students as the end outcome of university education. and wider responsibilities in family and social life (Stonier 1983). More than a decade ago. there is a need to change the culture of society from one of dependency to one that is more enterprising. This is based on an understanding of the changing pattern of contemporary economic and social life. There has been relatively much less thinking on the other rationale for academic entrepreneurship. job and contract status change. Universities move out of the ivory tower and become entrepreneurial. triggered by the quest for recovery after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. greater probability of self-employment. One effective way to meet the challenges is an education that prepares young people for a life-world of much greater uncertainty and complexity involving: frequent occupational. They need to upgrade their skills to compete favourably in the economic market. that is. and to encourage a spirit of entrepreneurship in young people. Yang economic and social development has been added to the conventional university missions of teaching and research. It aims not only to encourage young people to consider entrepreneurship as a career option but to seek to help them develop in ways that will help them cope in a world where life is becoming more complex and uncertain. For example. More fundamentally. Kempbell. adaptation to different cultures. training students with an entrepreneurial spirit is demanded by the contemporary relationship between education and the economy. although the need to encourage young people to be more enterprising is increasingly viewed as a significant aspect of education in many countries around the world. Future society faces many problems relating to social and economic changes. The movement leads to a fundamental change in the relationships between the state. global mobility. While Clark’s judgement might be appropriate to interpret the successful stories of MIT and Stanford University. they are forced into a situation in which they have to become more entrepreneurial in order to survive. the universities and industry. and as citizens to adjust to a more democratic lifestyle than they have been accustomed to in the past. Research-based new knowledge is translated into products and new enterprises. Leydesdorff and Etzkowitz 1998). the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (1989) pointed out that changes in educational methods are needed to foster competence in being enterprising. the situation faced by many universities today is different: instead of adopting an entrepreneurial spirit proactively to implement reform and changes to themselves. East Asian universities were pushed to implement a mission paradigm shift to academic entrepreneurialism so as to enhance national competitiveness and to promote a vibrant economy within the new global infrastructures (Mok 2005). Essentially. There is also pressure to prepare students for a world of life-long learning (European Commission 1996).

this has been seen as a vitally important qualification needed by the young as they enter society. as follows. Societies and Education 391 Since then. to seek proactively a diversified funding base for its institution and to allocate the resources internally. proposes that what the economy needs now is quite different from what was required in the past. schools have been found to be remarkably resistant to change. rather than through personal strong-minded change agents. comprising both university administrators and faculty deans. The third is via a diversified funding base. Discipline-led units adopt entrepreneurial practices differently Downloaded by [Michigan State University] at 07:34 30 May 2013 . involving raising a high percentage of their income from non-public sources. opportunities for innovation and development. The fourth is through the adoption of entrepreneurial practices in academic heartland units. policy-makers and innovators (Hargreaves 1994. there are two developmental centres: one is administrative offices promoting outreach with an emphasis on consultancy. It has been believed that this competence has a positive. flexible and adaptable disposition towards change. Pathways Drawing from the US and European literature and experience. 12). Clark (2004) recognises the need for a diversified funding base for universities. technology transfer and continuing professional education. By so doing. and exploitation of. entrepreneurial universities are managed in such a way that they become capable of responding flexibly. industrial liaison. Within the traditional structure of entrepreneurial universities. The first is through a strengthened steering core. much to the consternation of politicians. and has pointed out a mismatch between the need for more enterprising young people and the fact that educational systems have been slow to make changes. Research has endorsed the need for education to play a leading role in such a cultural change. It subsidises new ground-breaking activities as well as old valuable programmes in the academic heartland. and help to generate research money and other income. something described by Clark as having a strong steering core with acceptance of a model of self-made autonomy across the academic departments. Entrepreneurial universities avoid entire financial reliance on a single patron. In terms of organisation. The ultimate outcome is to create an ‘enterprise culture’ defined particularly as one open to change and to the search for. The two centres serve as mediating agents between the university and the organisations outside the academe.Globalisation. He identified five pathways of transformation for the entrepreneurial university. strategically and yet coherently to opportunities in the environment. entrepreneurship becomes part of the university’s core strategy. and try to diversify their funding sources instead. The second is by an enhanced developmental periphery. Leadership capacity takes the form of collegiality. Meanwhile. the other is multi/trans-disciplinary academic units operating as basic units parallel to disciplinary departments.

21) History has confirmed the entrepreneur’s insights. After more than three decades of rapid growth. Yang based on their disciplinary predispositions. the per capita income reached HK$6096. James Matheson. 68). Between 1986 and 1991. With this layered situation. Things have changed dramatically since then. and in ten years it will be the most considerable mart east of the Cape. Queen Victoria was most distressed to know that only a piece of useless granite was added to her Empire. 1). Great Britain’s most significant opium trader. However. It does not possess any natural resources and has relied on outside sources for its fuel and raw materials. The British Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston dismissed Captain Charles Elliot for the reason that he had obtained the cession of Hong Kong. What has puzzled economists is that Hong Kong is only a small city with approximately 7 million people living in an area of around 1064 sq. Hong Kong embarked on its export-led industrialisation in the early 1950s and experienced rapid industrialisation in the 1960s. All the aforementioned structural pathways of transformation need to be supported by a culture that is centred on an entrepreneurial spirit. entrepreneurs saw things differently. a barren island with hardly a house upon it. By 1992 the GDP reached HK$742. 11). and notably Scottish.392 R. km. Downloaded by [Michigan State University] at 07:34 30 May 2013 Entrepreneurship in Hong Kong When Hong Kong was ceded to the British in perpetuity by the Treaty of Nanking in 1842. the average per capita income in Hong Kong had grown to surpass that of its colonial motherland. The humanities and arts often have an even longer way to move from resistance to acceptance. (Chan 1991. Science and engineering departments are ahead of the social sciences. He claimed that: If the lion’s paw is to be put down on any part of the south side of China. it has emerged as one of the richest economies in Asia (Chau 1993. It has also imported much of its food supplies. the average growth rate in real terms was approximately 11%. Earlier in 1836. The colony was described by a visiting American journalist in 1951 as a ‘dying city’ (Ho 1992. let it be Hong Kong. The city . traders. the city was still growing in real terms at an average annual rate of 6. 1). Between 1961 and 1971. placing it behind only Japan in the Asia-Pacific region (Riedel 1974. and by 1971. largely from the Chinese mainland. let the lion declare it to be under his guarantee a free port. universities in transformation often find themselves entrepreneurial on one side and traditional on the other. The fifth is an embracing entrepreneurial culture. Great Britain.5% (Chau 1993. conceived the acquisition of Hong Kong Island as a factory for British. By 1990.582 million. 5). 31). and more investment was then flowing from the colony to Great Britain than from Great Britain to the colony (Vogel 1991. It seemed obvious to him that Hong Kong would not be a ‘Mart of Trae’ (Ho 1992. which interacts with the structural ones.

It is important to point out the cultural factors. while the small tradition. The Hong Kong colonial government controlled a limited growth of higher education. For . Although Hong Kong is a Chinese community and 98% of the population is Chinese. has been heavily influenced by western culture. A strong profit-making mentality can be observed in everyday life. The society. Consequently. an attempt to achieve a wealthy and strong nation.Globalisation. philosophers and people of letters. People only become interested in things when they can see clearly their benefits from them. The culture of Hong Kong belongs to the small tradition. and a centre of redistribution in its respective regional markets. that the economic success of Hong Kong was attributable to dynamic merchant entrepreneurs. Among earlier studies. is dedicated to the pursuit of making money. languages and political ideologies. Societies and Education 393 economy has outgrown its historical role as an intermediary in international trade. Chau (1993) was the only one to mention. Only recently have the theories that emphasise human agency attracted people’s attention. particularly in pursuing material life and social status (Yu 1997). As expressed by Rafferty (1991. 167). Interpretations of Hong Kong’s post-war success have focused on a variety of factors. under British control. cheap and hardworking labour force. it is wrong to conclude that the culture is homogenous. life styles. It is now a major international economy in its own right (Ho 1992. an attempt to keep a good life and good earnings. ‘Hong Kong. exhibiting various religious beliefs. While these are all contributing factors. profit-seeking is widely regarded as acceptable. The great tradition of Confucianism has never found its roots in Hong Kong. more than any other place in the world. 59). its higher education sector was never central to the economy during the colonial era. Hong Kong is virtually an open society. Hong Kong is an entrepreneurial society with a long tradition of approving profit-seeking (King 1987. inflow of capital and entrepreneurs from the mainland. was pursued by scholars. Downloaded by [Michigan State University] at 07:34 30 May 2013 Entrepreneurship in Hong Kong higher education: initiatives and inaction Policy initiatives from the government Within the operational logic of Hong Kong capitalism. albeit very briefly. 10). The Chinese culture can be classified into the ‘great tradition’ and the ‘small tradition’. Theories of entrepreneurship have been used to explain the successful story in Hong Kong (Yu 1997). It is also important to examine to what extent Hong Kong’s society is influenced by western culture and the traditional Chinese values. The great tradition. and laissez-faire capitalism (Szczepanik 1958). but also because they have specific implications for higher education. not only because they are the most significant element to facilitate the development of entrepreneurship in Hong Kong. more money’. was pursued by the unlettered peasants. at a more fundamental level. including favourable geographical location.

Moving further from the Sutherland Report’s demand for ‘value for money’. the University Grants Committee (UGC) was first established in 1965 to be responsible for advising the government on the development and funding of the then two institutions of higher education: the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Government now plays a dominant role in higher education provision and development. At present. and relaxing the quota for non-local students in publicly funded undergraduate and taught postgraduate programs to 4%. the government announced suddenly in March 2003 another 10% cut in funding for the UGC-funded institutions for the next academic year and indicated forthcoming further cuts. While higher institutions in Hong Kong are run and ruled autonomously by their own ordinances and governing bodies and their academic freedom is well protected by the Basic Law (Article 137 in particular) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Postiglione 2006). opening the market for Chinese mainland and international students. they purchased research from foreign countries. Policies adopted by the UGC significantly influence the development of the higher education sector (Mok 2001). In 2000. removing the quota for non-local research students. The linkage of the employee salary scale of UGC-funded institutions with that of the civil service was also abolished. quasi-marketisation and corporatisation in public policies and services (Cheung 1997). The research tradition in Hong Kong universities only started in the 1990s. there are eight institutions of higher education that are funded through the UGC. and role differentiation among universities was demanded. the 1978 government policy allowed for only 3% growth in tertiary education (Shiev 1992). the Hong Kong Government has adopted a variety of strategies along the line of managerialism. When the government or industries were in need of knowledge for policy design or technological innovation. Based on the British model. the Chief Executive proposed massification of higher education with 60% of secondary school graduates pursing tertiary education by 2010. In the 2000 Policy Address. when the Hong Kong Government began to pay much more attention to the higher education sector. Downloaded by [Michigan State University] at 07:34 30 May 2013 . There were hardly research provisions from the universities in Hong Kong. The government induced marketisation of higher education by making all taught postgraduate and sub-degree programs operate on a self-financing basis. 6 Á7). a funding cut of 4% on higher education took place. their development is mightily driven by the higher education policies surrounding the academy. Yang example.394 R. without sharing the financial responsibility needed for the expansion. especially Britain. The UGC then instructed a research Áteaching divide among the institutions funded under its aegis. Since the early 1990s. The Sutherland Report published in March 2002 attempted to impose a consensus on all the UGC-funded institutions to be united as ‘one body’ in order to make Hong Kong an ‘education hub’ in the international academic market (Sutherland 2002.

although they have been pushed strongly by the government to diversify their sources for revenue. academic entrepreneurship is hoped to be used as a means by universities in Hong Kong to react to their shrinking financial commitment from the government. institutional management and quality assurance. Instead we should roam free on a pasture’ (Wong 2004. elected deans have been replaced with directly appointed ones. and that Hong Kong culture is extremely material-oriented. producer and professional services. and intervenes in the individual institutions’ managerial systems and affairs on the grounds of a rational and effective use of resources (French 1999). especially those sitting at the pinnacle of the system. that high academic salaries are linked to types of employment conditions rather than to individual performances. higher institutions in Hong Kong. In response to the financial crisis in 2008. based on the belief that appointment of deans would enhance their accountability to the university’s central administration and enable smoother communication links between the senior management and the faculty (Mok 2001). have not demonstrated the innovative dimension of entrepreneurship. For example. Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tseng established a Task Force on Economic Challenges with himself as chair. Little action at institutional and individual levels Driven by a purpose to run higher education institutions efficiently and borrowing of the ideas and practices from enterprise. for example. The task force suggested that higher and continuing education play an expanding role in the region.Globalisation. As remarked by the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong: ‘A university will be like a domesticated animal in a zoo if it relies on the government to feed it. 163). and tourism. . Within this policy context. It selected ‘six new engines for economic growth for Hong Kong’s knowledge-based economy’ to complement the traditional four pillars of financial services. Education service was one of the six new engines selected to diversify the local economy in the wake of financial crisis and global recession and help power it towards recovery. research. due to the combined effect of the facts that Hong Kong higher education institutions have long been well-fed relatively. trading and logistics. urged his members to conduct more applied research and develop more links with the business and industrial sectors in order to attract external funding. They have not undertaken academic entrepreneurship in their domestic and international marketplaces. The Vice Chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. One example is Hong Kong’s lack of success in creating an Asian highereducation hub. However. Societies and Education 395 Downloaded by [Michigan State University] at 07:34 30 May 2013 Government spending cuts have forced universities to look for other sources to generate revenue. the UGC is increasingly able to disseminate its accountability agenda in the Hong Kong higher education system in teaching.

and testing and certification. as well as in North America and Europe. Five of Hong Kong’s public universities are ranked in the top 200 worldwide by the UK-based Times Higher Education Supplement league tables. there lack cohesive strategies within and between institutions to promote Hong Kong higher education. and the public resources and political leadership involved. individual institutions in Hong Kong have little incentive to adopt vigorous measures to compete with their Australian and British counterparts in China. the integration of non-local students with their local peers on campuses. Since then. there have been some efforts towards the goal. including raising the allowed percentage of non-local students in these universities upward from 10% to 20%. despite the fact that Hong Kong has the academic strength to pull off such a goal. even ahead of institutions such as Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley. However. Having not been pushed into a situation that is as difficult as in Australia. Indeed. concerns about the language of instruction and related cultural issues. current world leaders in hosting international students. cultural and creative industries. adjusting immigration rules to ease entry for nonlocal students and allowing them to stay after graduation to work. Yang along with medical services. including the omnipresent issue of where to house more students. A further advantage is that higher education in Hong Kong is considerably cheaper than in the USA. brand management. The eight public universities created an internationalisation committee to figure out ways to raise their numbers of non-local students. and creating new scholarship funds to attract postgraduate students to Hong Kong for doctoral-level studies. Most recently. there has been little effort to tackle barriers.396 R. Individual universities have also recruited in Southeast Asia. India and Pakistan. the system has been brought into line with universities in the United States and the Chinese mainland. Together with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. Hong Kong has a number of benefits to offer prospective students. Practically. environmental industries. Canada and the UK. India or Pakistan actually know about the University of Hong Kong’s recent high position in the international rankings (Mooney 2008). Few students and their parents in Southeast Asia. sometimes in collaboration with off-shore providers. Its universities are highly regarded internationally and in the Asia-Pacific region particularly. The Department of Education has also allowed nonlocal students to enrol in continuing and self-financed courses. Academics have been generally slow to look for Downloaded by [Michigan State University] at 07:34 30 May 2013 . innovation and technology. The University of Hong Kong has been ranked especially highly as one of the world’s best universities. which remains relatively unknown outside the region. making it easier for students from the US and Chinese systems to transfer to Hong Kong higher education institutions. Australia. The government has taken some actions to encourage this trend. university representatives have conducted joint recruitment efforts in India and Indonesia.

In consideration of all the advantages Hong Kong has.8%). the total demand for tertiary education in mainland China will rise from 8 million students in 2000 to 45 million in 2015 (Bohm 2003. it refers to education in which the learners are located in a country different from the one where the awarding institution is based: that is. On the other end of the spectrum of exporting educational services in Hong Kong is the cross-border delivery of higher education within the Chinese mainland. any education delivered by an institution based in one country to students located in another (McBurnie and Ziguras 2007). The overseas partners were predominantly from countries or regions with developed economies and advanced technology (China Education Daily 2004). The number of joint programs in mainland China increased to 745 by June 2004. is a far cry from such expectation. followed by the USA (26. By 30 June 2004. Australia and the USA were the dominant forces: Australia had the highest number of partnership institutions (29. Here Australia serves as an illustrative contrast. Indeed. The fact is that Australian universities have been the most dominant force in the Chinese mainland.4%. the Chinese mainland has the potential to dwarf all traditional offshore markets. there had been 668 approved partnerships. The degree programs approved by the Chinese government were run in collaboration with 164 overseas universities or colleges. however. Societies and Education 397 solutions to the aforementioned barriers because they cannot see clear signs of any financial benefits in return for the extra load added to their normal work. According to UNESCO and the Council of Europe (2001). During the past decade. with 169 programs qualified to award overseas (including Hong Kong) degrees (Ministry of Education 2004).Globalisation. With the biggest shares of educational service exports in the world. its share of the higher education market in the Chinese mainland could have been much more Downloaded by [Michigan State University] at 07:34 30 May 2013 . As one of the best respected higher education systems in this region. Hong Kong is extremely well positioned to export its higher education services to neighbouring countries. The reality.893 students had been enrolled. something that has been increasingly used to export education as an approach to international university cooperation. A total of 51. According to the Australian International Development Program. using English as its medium of instruction. the transnational provision of education has increased so dramatically that it is at the leading edge of the most fundamental change taking place in higher education today. This falls into the category of transnational higher education. the Chinese mainland has been well documented as the world’s largest education-importing country. evidencing the invisible hand of the market at work in allocating educational resources across borders efficiently.3%). Hong Kong higher institutions are naturally expected to capture the Chinese market. sending hundreds of thousands of students to study abroad. Within Asia. With its geographical and cultural advantages. as the world’s most promising market. Asia is the region with most active participation in transnational higher education (Huang 2007). Hong Kong only occupied 13. Marginson 2004).

It was echoed in local employers’ surveys such as the one published in March 2002 by the small-to-medium enterprises (SME) Committee of the Downloaded by [Michigan State University] at 07:34 30 May 2013 . Generally. especially within the Asia-Pacific region. Australia’s share of the Chinese market has grown exponentially. While Australian universities have been known for their aggressive marketing globally. The Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (2003) reported that 27 Australian universities (representing 71% of its then 38 members) had offshore programmes in mainland China in 2003. 1). As for the quality of graduates as the end result of education.1% and 68. 9. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Hong Kong Polytechnic University were respectively 13. Yang substantial.1%. dominated by Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Yang 2008). Apart from the joint delivery of certain degree programmes in the mainland.543. local employers have become more vociferous than they had ever been in complaining about the quality of the university graduates who newly joined the workplace. only four institutions were listed on the official website specifically on joint Chinese-foreign higher education programmes published by the Ministry of Education. Of the total shared by Hong Kong institutions. close to 1700%. English-medium bachelors degree programme. According to Australian Education International (2006).398 R. the percentages of the University of Hong Kong. a venture in Zhuhai of Hong Kong Baptist University and Beijing Normal University. Offshore programmes in China represented 13% of all reported current offshore activity by AVCC members.2%. One of the strong criticisms of local graduates has been the ‘lack of ability to think independently and creatively’ (Kan 2009. the number of Chinese nationals studying at onshore and offshore Australian higher and vocational education institutions increased from 3828 to 63. the less active they are in the Chinese market. This has been a focus in the media. 9. This became an especially serious issue in the midst of the recent adverse economic climate. Closer scrutiny reveals a highly layered picture: the more prestigious the institutions are in the Hong Kong higher education system. it is interesting to note that Hong Kong has been much less actively participating in the China market.6%. This is especially the case in comparison with Australia. the only major campus-creating partnership between a local and a mainland university to date is the United International College. studies have shown that employers in Hong Kong are not happy with the graduates from local higher institutions. suggesting China as a major site of offshore activity for a large majority of Australia’s universities. the Chinese University of Hong Kong. the United International College has just begun an experiment in offering Hong Kong-style university instruction and Hong Kong-accredited undergraduate degrees to a mainland student body in the mainland. showing great institutional differentiation. Over the past decade. With 4000 undergraduates now enrolled in a liberal arts. The number of China’s joint programmes with Australian universities had surpassed those with US institutions by 2004 (Huang 2007).

Against such a backdrop. covering the period from July to September 2001 (SME Committee of HKGCC 2002). Hong Kong seems to have a paradoxical situation: while Hong Kong has had a strong entrepreneurial culture. Conducted on 698 of the city’s most influential business and opinion leaders. Local graduates were reported to have failed to convince the business community that they measured up to employers’ expectations. On the other hand. its achievement in academic entrepreneurship is relatively low. Higher institutions and the people working within them are pressured to play an enhanced role in contributing to the international competitiveness of their nation. They compared poorly with those who had studied overseas: 63% of those interviewed in the survey rated graduates of European universities more highly than local graduates while 60% believed North American graduates out-performed those from Hong Kong universities (South China Morning Post 2006). A survey by the University of Hong Kong published in April 2002 revealed that university students were worried about their chances in getting a job. and that higher education institutions are still able to receive substantial funding from the government. that academic salary is largely separated from institutional entrepreneurial activities. students themselves acknowledge this. entrepreneurship is seen as an effective way to restructure any university that wants to be competitive and to survive and grow over time. it is important to warn against the romanticisation of entrepreneurship. this survey found that local graduates lacked both appropriate attitudes towards work and vital skills. Societies and Education 399 Downloaded by [Michigan State University] at 07:34 30 May 2013 Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) on employers’ opinions about the performance of young employees. This is due to a variety of factors including the facts that Hong Kong academics are paid well without linking directly to their actual contribution to the workplace. A similar assessment of local university graduates was published in November 2006. Unless personal benefits of academics and institutional managers are under threat. Universities are urged to take centre stage in regional development strategies. ways to develop a career and their own work abilities and attitudes (South China Morning Post 2002). It must be remembered that the entrepreneurship in the . often in an economic sense via a process of commercialisation of research (European Commission 2005). Once again. one of the weaknesses of local graduates was their lack of pioneering spirit. Conclusion The context in which universities are operated has become very different. they would not participate proactively in their university’s entrepreneurial activities. There is a broad consensus as to the nature of the pressures on higher education throughout the world to become more entrepreneurial. Indeed.Globalisation. Demands are increasing to make higher education contribute more substantially to local economic and social development.

2003. In consideration of the fundamental differences between business organisations and educational institutions. and should be. Paper presented at the 17th IDP Australian International Education . it is important to beware of the possible toxic influence of the selfish nature of business entrepreneurship on an educational environment. and third. Their following remarks remain highly relevant today and internationally: In becoming the Enterprise University. A balance needs to be struck between the university as a public good and marketing to keep intact the core values of the academic ethos. there is a need for revisiting Clark’s (1998. Therefore. In fact it might be losing control over the very means by which its own identity is formed.400 R. too often the enterprise university works around and against academic cultures rather than through MDS_No01_China_pdf. 2011). 6) References Australian Education International. Experiences from elsewhere confirm this judgement. too much is asked of them. 2004) thesis. The concept has been extended to include social and political forms of entrepreneurial activities.pdf (accessed October 17. the university seems at risk of losing sight of its own distinctive features and achievements. fundamentally different from the entrepreneurship in the business world. It is linked innately to innovations for the purpose of As Marginson and Considine (2000. 2000. its leaders are too far detached from that which they lead. 2006. Yang Downloaded by [Michigan State University] at 07:34 30 May 2013 academic world is. A. entrepreneurship means one who undertakes innovations. 2003. In very few cases did we find an executive strategy of enterprise and renewal that was matched by internal structures capable of mobilizing what [higher education researcher Burton] Clark calls the ‘academic heartland’ of ordinary staff and students. Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee. the limits of the enterprise university include: first. Bohm. The link between universities and industry is not always close and direct. Hong Kong might have hit the mark by a fluke. finance and business acumen in an effort to transform innovations into economic goods. the internal institutional community has been thinned out. second. For educational institutions. while at the same time. While it is necessary for higher institutions in Hong Kong to advocate academic entrepreneurship. http://aei. (Marginson and Considine 2000. the central focus of academic entrepreneurship could and should be different from that of business entrepreneurship. 241 Á3) have pointed out. According to them. the aggressive selfishness needs to be rejected as far as possible. Offshore programs of Australian universities. there have been some serious weaknesses in Australia’s practices. As the act of being an entrepreneur. In this regard. Market data snapshot: People’s Republic of China. Global student mobility 2025: Analysis of global competition and market share. Canberra: Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee.

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