The new Island Learning Centre of the Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK) is a project that epitomises the concerted efforts of Government, the education sector and the community, according to the University’s Council Chairman the Hon Charles Lee.
Mr. Lee made the above remark today (Tuesday) during the Commissioning Ceremony of the Centre which was attended by dignitaries of the central and Hong Kong SAR governments as well as leaders from the community.
The well-equipped Centre, located on the fourth floor of Shun Tak Centre on Hong Kong Island, came to fruition after the pledge of a $40 million donation from the Li Ka-shing Foundation — the largest personal donation ever received by the University. The Foundation later topped up its sponsorship with a further $4 million to help fit out the Centre’s facilities to a high standard. Earlier, the Centre had received a Government grant of $50 million and a pledge of $15 million by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.
In recognition of the $44-million donation towards the project, the University re-named its Centre for Continuing and Community Education as the Li Ka-shing Institute of Professional and Continuing Education (LiPACE). The official naming ceremony, marked by button-pressing and ribbon-cutting, was attended by Prof. Wei Yu, Vice Minister of Education of the People’s Republic of China, and Dr. Li Ka-shing, Chairman of Li Ka-shing Foundation. They were joined by Secretary for Education and Manpower Mrs. Fanny Law, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club the Hon Henry Tang Ying-yen, OUHK Council Chairman the Hon Charles Lee and Deputy Chairman Dr. Philip Wu, and President Prof. Tam Sheung-wai.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Li said, “In our fast-changing world,…Abundance of capital or natural resources will no longer be sufficient. To achieve a breakthrough we must also utilize advanced technology. The information revolution has been the focus in the past decade. The next decade may be dominated by the fields of biotechnology and nanotechnology. The only thing that will keep us in step with the times is our penchant for learning. The will to learn drives forward social development, and knowledge is the light that leads the way. A society that values knowledge will naturally produce top-class people.”
On the same occasion, the Jockey Club Computer Laboratory inside the Centre was opened. Unveiling a commemorative plaque, the Hon Henry Tang Ying-yen said, “The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust has so far donated a total of $112 million to the University as a support to its endeavour to serve adult learners with better learning facilities. The University has attained significant growth over the years. We are proud to have been able to play a part in helping the worthy cause of the University to thrive.”
Following the ceremony, Prof. Wei Yu delivered a lecture entitled “Embracing the Challenges by Leaping Development of Education” which outlined the forthcoming new measures to step up the development of education in China through distance learning.
The 3,102 square-metre Island Learning Centre is within walking distance from the Sheung Wan MTR station. It comprises 14 tutorial rooms, a lecture theatre, a student lounge and a computer laboratory. It can accommodate about 850 students at one time and meet 22 per cent of the OUHK’s space needs for tutorials and lectures.
Fitted with advanced teaching and learning facilities, the entire Centre is connected to the campus network backbone of the OUHK by fibre optics. The Jockey Club Computer Laboratory comprises three PC cum language laboratories as well as an open-access computer centre open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m..
Prof. Tam said the establishment of the Centre was an important milestone in the University’s development. Not only does it relieve the University of the burden of hiring facilities elsewhere, the place also provides adult learners with an ideal and improved learning environment at a convenient location. In addition, it allows the University sufficient room for expansion to cope with increasing demand from potential learners.
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