"Towards a Learning Society"
－Presentation at the University Presidents' Forum by Prof. Sarah S. C. Hui in 2005
First of all, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Guangdong University of Foreign Studies to give me this opportunity to share my views with you about making higher education more accessible to the public. I just want to share some of my views here. The topic is really good, because to make higher education more accessible to the public, which I would think, that is to make society to become a learning society.
Traditionally the full-time education is considered to be the only proper way of getting quality education. This type of formal education is well accepted by all people and studentsand they have taken this path as their formal way of getting higher education in life. As full-time education is normally funded by the government which usually has limited resources for education, and so students have to compete for limited places in universities. And therefore usually there is a constraint in supply of human resources in the society.
As you know, we now live in a rapidly changing world in terms of technological, economic, political and social transformation. The overall direction of change is toward an increasingly knowledge-based society. This change means that the cycle of knowledge-and-skill renewal is shortening. So as a result, the formal education received during the early part of one's life is inadequate to support our career development throughout our working career and beyond. So the implication of this development is that "lifelong learning" will become a central feature of our lives and a necessity for everyone to keep up with the escalating pace of change – in the family, at the workplace, in the community and in the world-wide society.
In order for both individuals and organizations to constantly upgrade themselves with the latest knowledge and skills so as to adapt, compete and excel in the high competitive and globalized economy, higher education therefore should be made more accessible to the public.