The Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK) today (Tuesday) unveiled its plan to establish a 3,100-square metre regional learning centre on Hong Kong Island, thanks to a $40-million donation by the Li Ka-shing Foundation to make up the necessary funding for the entire project.
The new centre will be established on the fourth floor of Shun Tak Centre atop the Hong Kong – Macau Ferry Terminal at a purchase price of $110 million. When completed in August this year, it will house 15 to 20 tutorial rooms, a free-access computer centre as well as a lecture theatre; and can also accommodate 1,000 students attending classes and tutorials at one time. This provision will meet about 44 per cent and, together with the main campus in Ho Man Tin, up to 70 per cent of the space needs for tutorials and lectures.
Welcoming Dr Li Ka-shing, Chairman of the Li Ka-shing Foundation, as a distinguished member of the OUHK’s “Partners in Learning” scheme, the University Council Chairman the Hon. Charles Lee Yeh-kwong said his donation is the largest personal contribution ever received by the institution. This has enabled the University to carry out one of its most significant expansion plans in line with the growth of the student population.
“Dr Li is widely acclaimed for his dedication to education. Although he has only come into personal contact with the University recently, at the congregation ceremony last December he was deeply impressed that our adult learners share his same respect for knowledge and commitment to lifelong learning. Before long Dr Li approached me and immediately decided that the OUHK mission is a most deserving cause for his personal support,” Mr Lee added.
Dr Li said, “The new century ushers in an era of immense changes, revolutionary, dramatic and fundamental changes, globalization, and innovation. The pace of new technological advances of information systems creates new wealth, new economic cycles, and new lifestyles and societies. Thus it is important for us as a society to embrace such changes, not only through the financial market, but also through the manner in which we prepare ourselves.
“In this new age, wealth is the product of knowledge. It is a great personal asset and should be valued highly, and not just as a tool to enhance professional advances. It should permeate our way of life, from how we educate our young to how we judge economic activities.”
Dr Li added that this explained why he was so eager to support the new proposed learning centre of the Open University. “I immediately agreed to support this meaningful project, and I encourage others to lend their support to projects and programmes that promote life-long learning. I hope that the Government will provide more support for life-long educational initiatives and divert more funds to focus in this area so that everyone will have the opportunity to further their studies should they wish to do so.”
A total budget of $142 million has been earmarked for the project including furnishing, fitting out and equipment expenses. Apart from Dr Li’s contribution, the Government has allocated $50 million while the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust has pledged $15 million, plus another $37 million from the OUHK reserve.
President of the OUHK Prof. Tam Sheung-wai said, “Not only can the new regional learning centre provide students with another ideal learning environment, it will also help the University save rental costs and thus the recurrent expenditure. The saving can in turn be used to create more places and opportunities for aspiring learners.
“In the new year, the OUHK will continue to develop open and distance education in the most cost-effective way, and move full speed forward towards its objective of becoming a Centre of Excellence in Adult and Distance Education in the region.”
To this end, the University will undertake these initiatives:
Start the second phase campus development project at Ho Man Tin;
Implement the institution-wide information technology plan to take advantage of the latest Internet and computer technology in teaching, administration and student service;
Provide more courses on Information Technology, Internet and Electronic-commerce;
Extend open learning opportunities to working adults in mainland cities in collaboration with the local educational institutions there; and,
Provide more custom-made, flexible and quality professional education and training to various corporate clients.
The OUHK’s Partners in Learning Scheme was introduced in 1993 for community involvement when the institution became self-financing. Over the years, the scheme has raised more than $220 million from over 250 charitable organisations and philanthropists in support of its campus construction, facility procurement, course development, student financial assistance, academic research and activities.