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Unpublished Paper
Asserting institutional autonomy and addressing accountability : the changing university governance in Hong Kong
  • Ka Ho, Joshua MOK, Lingnan University
Governments in Asia have exerted serious efforts and concentrated resources in helping a few universities improve their ranking in global university leagues. These efforts have resulted in the gradual growth of Asian universities and their steady high ranks in various university league tables. At present, universities are being encouraged to collaborate with the industry or business sector and engage with the community in promoting innovation, knowledge transfer, and entrepreneurship. In view of intensifying competition for global university rankings, the government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), has started a critical review of university governance through the University Grants Committee (UGC) in order to enhance the global competitiveness of publicly funded universities in Hong Kong since 2014. An independent task force led by Sir Howard Newby, the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, completed a comprehensive review in 2015. This paper highlights the major challenges faced by higher education (HE, hereafter) in Hong Kong, particularly in examining major governance strategies adopted by universities to enhance their performance.

This paper discusses changes in the major governance strategies adopted in the university sector. Such changes will facilitate balance between the call for accountability and the assertion of institutional autonomy or academic freedom of universities in Hong Kong. The first part of this paper discusses the major trends in HE reforms in Asia, followed by an examination of major challenges faced by the HE sector in Hong Kong. The second part of the paper focuses on how the UGC reviewed university governance and proposed a new accountability framework to drive the performance of public universities. The final part of the paper critically reflects upon the changing university governance model in Hong Kong, especially when universities are forced to address accountability drive and assertion of institutional autonomy.
Publication Date
January, 2017
Citation Information
Mok, K. H. (2017). Asserting institutional autonomy and addressing accountability : the changing university governance in Hong Kong. Unpublished Manuscript.