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Catch up with HK Colleges
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Mainland higher educational institutions should reflect on their educational systems and find ways to attract top students, says a signed article in Yanzhao Metropolis Daily. An excerpt follows:

Students in the Chinese mainland are displaying a greater interest in universities in Hong Kong. For example, the University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology attracted 1,600 applicants from Beijing this year. Over 10,000 mainland students have applied to Hong Kong universities this year.

A survey conducted by Beijing Examination News and popular Web portal Sina revealed that 65 per cent of mainland students would like to study in Hong Kong. Good universities in Hong Kong are even more attractive than the mainland's prestigious seats of learning, such as Peking University and Tsinghua University.

Good employment prospects are luring growing numbers of mainland students to Hong Kong universities.

According to a survey conducted by the University of Hong Kong Careers Education and Placement Centre, 99 percent of its 2005 graduates were either employed or pursuing further studies by December 2005.

Their average monthly income was HK$14,214 (US$1,822), while some were earning as much as HK$74,443 (US$9,544) a month. These graduates also attracted many job offers from international investment banks, management consultants and multinational corporations.

Meanwhile, graduates from top mainland universities such as Peking and Tsinghua do not enjoy such good prospects.

The reason why graduates from the University of Hong Kong are so popular in the employment market is that they have an education mechanism with students as its core. There is a flexible exchange system, in which students can apply to study in other universities around the world for credit courses. Students can also decide when to take the compulsory courses themselves.

The problem facing the mainland's higher education sector is that it cannot keep pace with the great changes taking place in the employment market. The types of majors do not suit the market. The style of education remains rigid. This type of education system breeds graduates unable to cope with the demands of today's job market.

Steps must be taken to ensure that the mainland's higher education system can attract more outstanding students.

(China Daily July 6, 2006)

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