[Press Release] “Futures of Education” HK and GBA Forum brought multidisciplinary stakeholders together to reimagine education 

Hong Kong, 3 Dec 2021 — UNESCO Hong Kong Association Glocal Peace Centre (“UNESCO HK GPC”) had successfully held the 2021 “Futures of Education” Forum (the “Forum”) on 10th November 2021 at Asia Society with over 500 participants joining the hybrid event and over 1,000 respondents engaged in the pre-forum survey. 

“Futures of Education” is UNESCO’s global initiative to reimagine how knowledge and learning can shape the future of humanity and the planet. The Forum is an interdisciplinary forum for the local community on the subject, which aims to facilitate discussions and debates, and allow us to ask what education might become and enable us to become. By leveraging the collective intelligence of a wide range of stakeholders, the Forum aims to engage with all, to think together so we can act together to make the futures we want.

Ms. Mitzi Leung, Vice President of UNESCO HK Association said, “Our collective intelligence will help to shape education for our future. This is the time for innovative partnerships, to take actions and create impact.” 

“Futures of Education” Hong Kong & GBA Forum 2021

Speakers from the private, public and social sector shared their experiences and insights on topics including responsible education, career 2.0, future of work, and vocational education. They also laid out some of the challenges we are facing today in education, with insights into how multi-level collaboration will be needed to tackle these challenges for the benefit of Hong Kong. 

Ms Donna Buckland, Chairperson of the Forum’s organizing committee, started the Forum by sharing the objectives and the vision of the United Nations on sustainability. “The United Nations defines sustainability as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations,” she said, “This Forum is a platform to collectively influence education as a sustainability enabler for our children, our future generation and follow through with actions to deliver outcomes on skill sets required for the future of work.” 

Mr. Tim Lui, SBS, JP., Chairman of the Education Commission and Chairman of the Securities and Futures Commission, gave his opening remarks referring to the Forum as a “timely response to the transforming society that was beyond our recognition and comfort zones”, he said “Where there are threats, there are opportunities as well. We have witnessed the rise of many innovative and tech-savvy businesses in response to those challenges and are doing very well.” 

Professor Cheng Kai-ming, Emeritus Professor of University of Hong Kong, shed light on the current work-study mismatch and the fact that the concept of a life-long job was bygone. Professor Cheng saw self-directed learning as the solution to the aforementioned issues. “Students have to learn to learn, set their own goals, choose their own path and see their own success through self-directed learning.”

At the forum, renowned academics and innovative industry professionals shared their insights and debated how to shape the futures of education. Speakers and panellists were:

  • Ms. Donna Buckland, Chairperson, Futures of Education HK & GBA Forum 2021; Management Committee, UNESCO HK Association GPC 
  • Mr. Tim Lui, SBS, JP., Chairman, Education Commission; Chairman, Securities and Futures Commission
  • Mr. Joseph Ngai, JP, Managing Partner, McKinsey&Co., Greater China
  • Prof. Kai-ming Cheng, Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Education, the University of Hong Kong
  • Ms. S. Alice Mong, Executive Director, Asia Society Hong Kong Center
  • Mr. Peter Mok, Head of Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP)
  • Ms. Annie Chan, Managing Director, Ipsos Hong Kong 
  • Ms. Sarah Tam, PR & Media Chair, UNESCO HK Association GPC 
  • Dr. Shirley Yeung, Agencies Liaison, Research Publication Convenor, UNESCO HK Association GPC
  • Mr. Fred Sheu, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Hong Kong
  • Ir. Eric Chan, Chief Public Mission Officer, Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited
  • Prof. Cristina Hong, President, Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (THEi)
  • Mr. Raghav Gupta, Managing Director, India and APAC, Coursera

Key Findings from the “Futures of Education” Survey: 

Prior to the Forum, UNESCO HK GPC commissioned IPSOS-HK to conduct a survey with more than 1,000 respondents that encompassed various key stakeholders in society, including students, parents and business management.  

Key findings are as follow:

Greatest Challenges of Humanity in 2050

Comprehensive findings of the survey conducted prior to the forum in which more than 1K subjects participated, were also presented during the Forum. Climate change (86%), environmental crises (81%) and an ageing population (81%) were seen as the greatest challenges of humanity in 2050 by majority of the respondents. 

Top Purposes of Education for 2050

Top-ranked purposes of education for 2050 were namely scientific innovation (76%), health & well-being (74%), continuous learning (73%), personal sustainability (72%), and peace (70%). While there was a significant expectation gap between required skills and the ones currently provided, as well the current curriculum versus the real world, respondents thought education on problem solving mindset, self-management, resiliency, critical thinking and creativity could be the way out. 

Mixed Views on the GBA Initiative

There was a landslide support among businesses in regards to employing Greater Bay Area (GBA) graduates (74%). Students and teachers surveyed were much less enthusiastic about the GBA initiative. 

Please see summary of the survey findings from this infographics at: https://peacecentre.unesco.hk/futures-education-forum-2021/


For media enquiries, please contact: 

UNESCO Hong Kong Association Glocal Peace Centre 

Email: peace@unesco.hk 

Phone: (852) 3158 2889 

About UNESCO Hong Kong Association and The Glocal Peace Centre

UNESCO Hong Kong Association (UNESCO HKA) seeks to facilitate Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and international cooperation through Education, Sciences, Culture and Propagation. UNESCO HKA is the member of the Chinese National Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations (CNFUCA), as well as a regional reporting member of United Nations Global Compact. UNESCO HKA is a charitable institution under Section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance. (IRD Ref No. 91/10053). Find out more: http://unesco.hk/   

The Glocal Peace Centre (UNESCO Hong Kong Association Glocal Peace Centre/ UNESCO HK GPC) is a project of the UNESCO Hong Kong Association. UNESCO HK GPC was launched in 2018 and is supported by schools and educational institutions, diplomatic corps, international service organizations, community and business associations, and enterprises. Its annual Peacemakers Cultural Celebration event attracts peacemakers from Mainland China, Macau, India, Europe, and nationals from different countries living in Hong Kong. Find out more: http://peacecentre.unesco.org.hk/ 

About ‘Futures of Education’

UNESCO launched the “Futures of Education” initiative in New York in 2019 to reimagine how knowledge and learning can shape the futures of humanity in a context of increasing complexity, uncertainty and precarity. Looking to 2050 and beyond, the Futures of Education initiative seeks to reimagine how education and knowledge can contribute to the global common good. Find out more: https://en.unesco.org/futuresofeducation

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