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From “Workers’ Night School” to “HKCT Institute of Higher Education”

 

Hong Kong College of Technology (HKCT), formerly the “Workers’ Night School” has been serving the community over 60 years especially for people with lower income with her perseverance and self-reliance despite many hardships. The institution has been transforming and advancing herself from a basic education provider and technical skills trainer catered to illiterate people to be a degree-awarding institute, “HKCT Institute of Higher Education” which aspires to nurture committed youth for social development and betterment of Hong Kong and the country.

 

The Mongkok Workers' Night School founded in the 1950s

 

The first workers' night school founded in 1947 played a vital role in equipping the working class with cultural knowledge and strengthening their social identity. After the Second World War, Hong Kong economy began to pick up gradually. However, life was particular difficult for the working class. Families with children struggled to make a living. Schools were limited and school fees were high, making education unaffordable for working class families. As a consequence, thousands of children could not go to school. The Education Advancement Society for Workers' Children in Hong Kong and Kowloon (港九勞工子弟教育促進會) (later renamed as the Education Advancement Society for Workers in Hong Kong and Kowloon, or EASW), a group formed by several trade unions, established in 1946. It was the first school catering to workers' children. The EASW later founded Sham Shui Po Female Textile Workers' Night School (深水埗婦女織工補習夜校) and To Kwa Wan Female Textile Workers' Night School (土瓜灣婦女織工補習夜校), catering to illiterate and semi-illiterate people who had difficulty of finding jobs and making a decent living. Later on, the third and fourth night schools, Metal Workers' Night School (五金工人夜校) and Shau Kei Wan Workers' Night School (筲箕灣工人夜校) were established, which provided cultural courses for people with primary school level. In 1957, Mongkok Workers' Night School was founded. It was the youngest establishment among all five workers' night schools after the end of the war. The five schools had a total of 1,120 students.

 

 

Technical education launched in the 1960s

 

In the 1960s, the manufacturing industry in Hong Kong took off. Shortage of workers prompted the government to review its industry training policy. In 1965 the Industry Advisory Committee was set up. It was suggested that an apprentice training system and a technical institute should be created. The Vocational Training Council was established in 1973. Before all this development, Mongkok Workers' Night School had already envisioned a surge in demand for technicians in Hong Kong and therefore launched a variety of industrial training courses. Fitting and turning, electrical work and car repairing were three core subjects taught at the night school. Workers could all master the skills they learned by the time they completed in a course. Such was the origin of technical education at the night school.

With the secondary industry fast expanding, the electronic sector was booming. Mongkok Workers' Night School therefore launched a radio wave course to cater to the growing demand. The thriving textile industry also led to the launch of a course on machine sewing, which attracted a large number of female factory workers who wanted to pick up the latest tailoring and machine sewing techniques. As education became increasingly popular, a single skill set was not enough to make a decent living and the working class recognised the need to enhance their intellectual knowledge. In response, Mongkok Workers' Night School introduced a variety of English courses and junior secondary school courses covering subjects such as language, mathematics, history and geography. Meanwhile, the school began to review the local night school sector with a view to coping with social and economic changes. Between 1969 and 1977, it held three large-scale surveys designed to establish the direction of the school's operation. The first survey found that there were a total of 300,000 light industry workers, but only 1,600 of them could go to night school.

 

 

Promotion of professional courses in the 1970s and 1980s

 

The growing popularity of education prompted a serious shortage of places in university preparatory courses and post-secondary programmes. For the majority of young students in Hong Kong, there was little chance to advance after finishing secondary school. In this regard, workers' night schools offered them an alternative path, enabling them to acquire recognised qualifications. A Form 3 graduate could take a general diploma course before moving on to a technical course (equivalent of higher diploma) and then obtaining a professional qualification equivalent to a university degree.

In 1979, HKCT launched its first preparatory course for an examination held by an overseas professional group. Upon completing the course in Electrical/ Electronic Certificate (C&G271), students could take the radio telecommunication technician examination held by the City & Guilds of London Institute and obtain a qualification, equivalent to a Polytechnic Institute diploma or certificate. The course soon became a popular channel for workers to enhance their qualifications and career path. Having taken a major step forward, the night school introduced more specialised courses on subjects including radio waves, TV technical work, English bookkeeping and accounting. This was followed by a computer course launched in 1980. All these initiatives were closely linked to social and economic development.

 

 

In 1986, the school began to widen the range of its professional examination preparatory courses and also introduce courses equivalent to the bachelor's degree level. The British Engineering Council part-one examination provided a platform for students to acquire a professional accredited engineer status. Other professional examination preparatory courses covered computer and accounting. To date, more than 30,000 people have acquired a professional accredited status through examinations.

To reflect the nature of its professional courses, Mongkok Workers' Night School was renamed as Hong Kong College of Technology (HKCT) on 30 March 1987. In November 1990, HKCT established the Information Service Centre of Professional Studies (ISCOPS), offering information and consultation service on professional groups and public examinations to members of the public. It also served as a platform facilitating communication between different sectors and related professional groups, thus helping to refine HKCT's programmes and boosting their recognitions. ISCOPS was then supported by 18 advisors, six of whom are members of the Executive Council and Legislative Council and 12 from professional groups.

 

 

Development of retraining programmes and full-time diploma programmes in the 1990s

 

The opening of the China market in the late 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s led to an exodus of factories to the mainland, constituting a large number of local workers jobless. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong economy began to undergo a transformation, with the service industry expanding rapidly. Workers with the right knowledge and skills were in great demand. HKCT, which evolved from a workers' night school, was aware of the predicament facing workers who had been forced out of the job market and had difficulty in switching to a new field. Proper and timely plans on labour retraining should be made in order to strengthen Hong Kong workers' competitiveness. So in early 1992, HKCT wrote a letter to the government, suggesting finding ways to help unemployed workers to find work. The government then set up the Provisional Retraining Fund Board, and HKCT was commissioned by the government to run the first retraining course, the Chinese Data Input Training Programme. As the trailblazer of this retraining initiative, HKCT was the only non-subsidised institution invited to take part in the project. Soon afterwards, the Employees Retraining Board was established, and HKCT became one of the first retraining institutions. In 1993, it launched programmes designed to improve people's job-seeking skills and help them find work. Meanwhile, a career counselling unit was formed to help students identify job opportunities through direct contact between the unit and employers. To date, the unit has helped 250,000 unemployed people to return to the employment market.

In 1996, HKCT launched full-time youth programmes catering to students seeking higher education qualifications. The programmes, which mainly consisted of diploma courses in subjects such as computer, business and tourism courses, amounted to an alternative education path for young people in Hong Kong. In 1997 and 1998, a two-year higher diploma computer programme was added. Upon completion of these programmes, students could enrol in some degree programmes offered by overseas universities, the first top-up degree programmes available in Hong Kong.

In 1996, HKCT founded the School of Higher Education in a bid to foster collaboration with overseas education institutions. So far, HKCT has forged ties with institutions in Australia (Central Queensland University, University of Southern Queensland, Open University in Australia, University of Ulster, Lancaster University and Northumbria University in the UK and mainland China (Xiamen University and Jinan University).

 

 

Embark on the path of higher education in the 2000s

 

After Hong Kong was returned to China, the SAR government determined to expand the scope of higher education with full force, with the aim of enabling 60 per cent of secondary school graduates to receive tertiary education in 10 years. To align itself with the new government policy, HKCT launched three higher diploma professional programmes, respectively specialising in computer, accounting and business studies. All three programmes were approved by the authority, marking a milestone for HKCT's transformation into a post-secondary institution. Taking students' education and career needs into account, the programmes exempt certain professional examination papers and also offer students with articulation pathways to top-up degree programmes of overseas universities.

 

To match the government's policy on promoting tertiary education, HKCT also established School of Youth and Post-Secondary Education in 2001, offering a host of recognised tertiary programmes. These programmes provide Form 5 and Form 7 graduates a variety of education paths. In 2005, HKCT launched a range of general diploma courses recognised by the government, offering a qualification equivalent to five passes at the HKCEE. The qualification is also recognised by the Civil Service Bureau as standard entrance requirement for applying certain government positions.

 

In 2010, HKCT received donations from Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and HKCT Jockey Club Ma On Shan Campus has been launched in November 2010. HKCT also received donation from Wai Yin Association in this same year to refurnish its Ho Man Tin Campus to align with the progressive development of higher education in HKCT. The Man Fuk Road Campus was officially opened in September 2012. The institution held a series of 55th Anniversary Celebrations in the same year (HKCT 55th Anniversary archive file). In 2013, HKCT has been allocated a new campus, the ex-premises of FDBWA Mrs Fung Ping Shan Primary School, by Education Bureau and the new campus targets to be launched in 2015.

 

In 2014, HKCT received donations of HKD44.8 million from Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. The donations will cover the renovation of the new MOS campus and the development of HKCT Jockey Club Service Learning Project. The new MOS campus will be named as HKCT Jockey Club Undergraduate Campus, while its campus building will be named as HKCT Jockey Club Tower.

 

In August 2014, the Chief Executive-in-Executive Council has recently approved the registration of HKCT Institute of Higher Education (CTIHE) under the Post-Secondary Colleges Ordinance (Cap. 320) and CTIHE becomes the nineteenth tertiary institution eligible to award degrees in Hong Kong.  CTIHE has been officially established and its first-ever degree programme titled the Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Social Development Studies has been launched in 2014-2015 academic year.

 

In 2015, HKCT Jockey Club Undergraduate Campus in Ma On Shan was officially in service and its “Grand Opening” was held in December which marked an important milestone for the institution. The ceremony was officiated by the Acting Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR,Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (front row right 7) and Director of Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong S.A.R., Zhang Xiaoming (front row left 6). The new undergraduate campus and the original “HKCT Jockey Club Ma On Shan Campus” are closely located (2- to 3-minute walk) that form the HKCT “Twin Campus”. 


HKCT marks its 60th anniversary in 2017 and the celebrations began with “HKCT 60th Anniversary Launch Ceremony cum Annual Luncheon 2016" which was officiated by Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (middle), Chief Secretary for Administration and Prof. LI Lu (right 5), Director General of Education, Science and Technology Department, Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on 9 Dec 2016.

 

 

 

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About HKCT

 

From “Workers’ Night School” to “HKCT Institute of Higher Education”

 

Hong Kong College of Technology (HKCT), formerly the “Workers’ Night School” has been serving the community over 60 years especially for people with lower income with her perseverance and self-reliance despite many hardships. The institution has been transforming and advancing herself from a basic education provider and technical skills trainer catered to illiterate people to be a degree-awarding institute, “HKCT Institute of Higher Education” which aspires to nurture committed youth for social development and betterment of Hong Kong and the country.

 

 

The Mongkok Workers' Night School founded in the 1950s



The first workers' night school founded in 1947 played a vital role in equipping the working class with cultural knowledge and strengthening their social identity. After the Second World War, Hong Kong economy began to pick up gradually. However, life was particular difficult for the working class. Families with children struggled to make a living. Schools were limited and school fees were high, making education unaffordable for working class families. As a consequence, thousands of children could not go to school. The Education Advancement Society for Workers' Children in Hong Kong and Kowloon (港九勞工子弟教育促進會) (later renamed as the Education Advancement Society for Workers in Hong Kong and Kowloon, or EASW), a group formed by several trade unions, established in 1946. It was the first school catering to workers' children. The EASW later founded Sham Shui Po Female Textile Workers' Night School (深水埗婦女織工補習夜校) and To Kwa Wan Female Textile Workers' Night School (土瓜灣婦女織工補習夜校), catering to illiterate and semi-illiterate people who had difficulty of finding jobs and making a decent living. Later on, the third and fourth night schools, Metal Workers' Night School (五金工人夜校) and Shau Kei Wan Workers' Night School (筲箕灣工人夜校) were established, which provided cultural courses for people with primary school level. In 1957, Mongkok Workers' Night School was founded. It was the youngest establishment among all five workers' night schools after the end of the war. The five schools had a total of 1,120 students.

Technical education launched in the 1960s



In the 1960s, the manufacturing industry in Hong Kong took off. Shortage of workers prompted the government to review its industry training policy. In 1965 the Industry Advisory Committee was set up. It was suggested that an apprentice training system and a technical institute should be created. The Vocational Training Council was established in 1973. Before all this development, Mongkok Workers' Night School had already envisioned a surge in demand for technicians in Hong Kong and therefore launched a variety of industrial training courses. Fitting and turning, electrical work and car repairing were three core subjects taught at the night school. Workers could all master the skills they learned by the time they completed in a course. Such was the origin of technical education at the night school.

With the secondary industry fast expanding, the electronic sector was booming. Mongkok Workers' Night School therefore launched a radio wave course to cater to the growing demand. The thriving textile industry also led to the launch of a course on machine sewing, which attracted a large number of female factory workers who wanted to pick up the latest tailoring and machine sewing techniques. As education became increasingly popular, a single skill set was not enough to make a decent living and the working class recognised the need to enhance their intellectual knowledge. In response, Mongkok Workers' Night School introduced a variety of English courses and junior secondary school courses covering subjects such as language, mathematics, history and geography. Meanwhile, the school began to review the local night school sector with a view to coping with social and economic changes. Between 1969 and 1977, it held three large-scale surveys designed to establish the direction of the school's operation. The first survey found that there were a total of 300,000 light industry workers, but only 1,600 of them could go to night school.

Promotion of professional courses in the 1970s and 1980s



The growing popularity of education prompted a serious shortage of places in university preparatory courses and post-secondary programmes. For the majority of young students in Hong Kong, there was little chance to advance after finishing secondary school. In this regard, workers' night schools offered them an alternative path, enabling them to acquire recognised qualifications. A Form 3 graduate could take a general diploma course before moving on to a technical course (equivalent of higher diploma) and then obtaining a professional qualification equivalent to a university degree.

In 1979, HKCT launched its first preparatory course for an examination held by an overseas professional group. Upon completing the course in Electrical/ Electronic Certificate (C&G271), students could take the radio telecommunication technician examination held by the City & Guilds of London Institute and obtain a qualification, equivalent to a Polytechnic Institute diploma or certificate. The course soon became a popular channel for workers to enhance their qualifications and career path. Having taken a major step forward, the night school introduced more specialised courses on subjects including radio waves, TV technical work, English bookkeeping and accounting. This was followed by a computer course launched in 1980. All these initiatives were closely linked to social and economic development.



In 1986, the school began to widen the range of its professional examination preparatory courses and also introduce courses equivalent to the bachelor's degree level. The British Engineering Council part-one examination provided a platform for students to acquire a professional accredited engineer status. Other professional examination preparatory courses covered computer and accounting. To date, more than 30,000 people have acquired a professional accredited status through examinations.

To reflect the nature of its professional courses, Mongkok Workers' Night School was renamed as Hong Kong College of Technology (HKCT) on 30 March 1987. In November 1990, HKCT established the Information Service Centre of Professional Studies (ISCOPS), offering information and consultation service on professional groups and public examinations to members of the public. It also served as a platform facilitating communication between different sectors and related professional groups, thus helping to refine HKCT's programmes and boosting their recognitions. ISCOPS was then supported by 18 advisors, six of whom are members of the Executive Council and Legislative Council and 12 from professional groups.


Development of retraining programmes and full-time diploma programmes in the 1990s



The opening of the China market in the late 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s led to an exodus of factories to the mainland, constituting a large number of local workers jobless. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong economy began to undergo a transformation, with the service industry expanding rapidly. Workers with the right knowledge and skills were in great demand. HKCT, which evolved from a workers' night school, was aware of the predicament facing workers who had been forced out of the job market and had difficulty in switching to a new field. Proper and timely plans on labour retraining should be made in order to strengthen Hong Kong workers' competitiveness. So in early 1992, HKCT wrote a letter to the government, suggesting finding ways to help unemployed workers to find work. The government then set up the Provisional Retraining Fund Board, and HKCT was commissioned by the government to run the first retraining course, the Chinese Data Input Training Programme. As the trailblazer of this retraining initiative, HKCT was the only non-subsidised institution invited to take part in the project. Soon afterwards, the Employees Retraining Board was established, and HKCT became one of the first retraining institutions. In 1993, it launched programmes designed to improve people's job-seeking skills and help them find work. Meanwhile, a career counselling unit was formed to help students identify job opportunities through direct contact between the unit and employers. To date, the unit has helped 250,000 unemployed people to return to the employment market.

In 1996, HKCT launched full-time youth programmes catering to students seeking higher education qualifications. The programmes, which mainly consisted of diploma courses in subjects such as computer, business and tourism courses, amounted to an alternative education path for young people in Hong Kong. In 1997 and 1998, a two-year higher diploma computer programme was added. Upon completion of these programmes, students could enrol in some degree programmes offered by overseas universities, the first top-up degree programmes available in Hong Kong.

In 1996, HKCT founded the School of Higher Education in a bid to foster collaboration with overseas education institutions. So far, HKCT has forged ties with institutions in Australia (Central Queensland University, University of Southern Queensland, Open University in Australia, University of Ulster, Lancaster University and Northumbria University in the UK and mainland China (Xiamen University and Jinan University).


Embark on the path of higher education in the 2000s



After Hong Kong was returned to China, the SAR government determined to expand the scope of higher education with full force, with the aim of enabling 60 per cent of secondary school graduates to receive tertiary education in 10 years. To align itself with the new government policy, HKCT launched three higher diploma professional programmes, respectively specialising in computer, accounting and business studies. All three programmes were approved by the authority, marking a milestone for HKCT's transformation into a post-secondary institution. Taking students' education and career needs into account, the programmes exempt certain professional examination papers and also offer students with articulation pathways to top-up degree programmes of overseas universities.

To match the government's policy on promoting tertiary education, HKCT also established School of Youth and Post-Secondary Education in 2001, offering a host of recognised tertiary programmes. These programmes provide Form 5 and Form 7 graduates a variety of education paths. In 2005, HKCT launched a range of general diploma courses recognised by the government, offering a qualification equivalent to five passes at the HKCEE. The qualification is also recognised by the Civil Service Bureau as standard entrance requirement for applying certain government positions.



In 2010, HKCT received donations from Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and HKCT Jockey Club Ma On Shan Campus has been launched in November 2010. HKCT also received donation from Wai Yin Association in this same year to refurnish its Ho Man Tin Campus to align with the progressive development of higher education in HKCT. The Man Fuk Road Campus was officially opened in September 2012. The institution held a series of 55th Anniversary Celebrations in the same year (HKCT 55th Anniversary archive file). In 2013, HKCT has been allocated a new campus, the ex-premises of FDBWA Mrs Fung Ping Shan Primary School, by Education Bureau and the new campus targets to be launched in 2015.

In 2014, HKCT received donations of HKD44.8 million from Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. The donations will cover the renovation of the new MOS campus and the development of HKCT Jockey Club Service Learning Project. The new MOS campus will be named as HKCT Jockey Club Undergraduate Campus, while its campus building will be named as HKCT Jockey Club Tower.

In August 2014, the Chief Executive-in-Executive Council has recently approved the registration of HKCT Institute of Higher Education (CTIHE) under the Post-Secondary Colleges Ordinance (Cap. 320) and CTIHE becomes the nineteenth tertiary institution eligible to award degrees in Hong Kong.  CTIHE has been officially established and its first-ever degree programme titled the Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Social Development Studies has been launched in 2014-2015 academic year.

In 2015, HKCT Jockey Club Undergraduate Campus in Ma On Shan was officially in service and its “Grand Opening” was held in December which marked an important milestone for the institution. The ceremony was officiated by the Acting Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (front row right 7) and Director of Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong S.A.R., Zhang Xiaoming (front row left 6). The new undergraduate campus and the original “HKCT Jockey Club Ma On Shan Campus” are closely located (2- to 3-minute walk) that form the HKCT “Twin Campus”.

 

In 2015, HKCT Jockey Club Undergraduate Campus in Ma On Shan was officially in service and its “Grand Opening” was held in December which marked an important milestone for the institution. The ceremony was officiated by the Acting Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (front row right 7) and Director of Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong S.A.R., Zhang Xiaoming (front row left 6). The new undergraduate campus and the original “HKCT Jockey Club Ma On Shan Campus” are closely located (2- to 3-minute walk) that form the HKCT “Twin Campus”. 

 

HKCT marks its 60th anniversary in 2017 and the celebrations began with “HKCT 60th Anniversary Launch Ceremony cum Annual Luncheon 2016" which was officiated by Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (middle), Chief Secretary for Administration and Prof. LI Lu (right 5), Director General of Education, Science and Technology Department, Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on 9 Dec 2016.