In the recent past, several questions have been asked about the effectiveness and relevance of higher education in Hong Kong. The issue has been on whether tertiary education equips graduates with the necessary skills needed to operate in a competitive environment. Based on these questions, tertiary institutions in Hong Kong have emphasised the importance of the whole person development programmes.
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Educators have realised the need to create a curriculum that encourages a broad and balanced learning for graduates. The essence of the whole person development programmes is to allow graduates to achieve wide and balanced experiences during their training programmes. This article seeks to analyse the whole person development programmes in Hong Kong, highlight societal expectations of the programmes, and discuss the facilitating factors of teaching and learning the programmes.
Analyze the whole person development programs in tertiary education in Hong Kong
To encourage students to identify their core values, tertiary education in Hong Kong has encouraged the adoption of the whole person development programs in its curriculum (Lee, 2007). These programs emphasize on physical wellness and fitness, emotional intelligence, and interpersonal relations among students. In addition, the program allows students to enhance their mental prowess, creativity, competence, and continuous personal development.
Before the program was adopted, many graduates exhibited cognitive skills required for high-level executive roles. However, they did not exhibit all the required skills needed in tackling various tasks in the workplace. For instance, graduates had cognitive schemas but lacked behavioural skills required in a changing environment.
To ensure that graduates are fully prepared for the job market, tertiary education in Hong Kong adopted whole person development programmes in their curriculum. Through the programmes, they aim at producing skilled graduates who have cognitive skills and behavioural skills (Menkes, 2005).
To ensure that the whole person development goals are attained, tertiary education in Hong Kong combines behavioural, emotional, and cognitive skills in their curriculum. Acquisitions of behavioural skills entail learning emotional skills in the whole person development programmes.
Graduates learn how to manage their emotional skills to enable them relate successfully with others. Training curriculums in tertiary colleges involve different cognitive schemata, which allow learners to cover both content and context of skills required in a whole person development programme.
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s whole person development programmes are clearly defined. As such, it offers appropriate guidance and training education to its graduates to enable them acquire multiple abilities and executive skills in the future. The institution expects its graduates to be competent, confident, committed, and to acquire global outlooks while undergoing their training (Lam, 2013).
The whole person development programme aims at creating graduates who will be creative, communicate effectively, work effectively, lead in teams, and become socially responsible. To acquire these core skills, students must participate in exchange programmes, mentorship programmes, community programmes, and ambassadorship programmes. Thus, the institution must rely on the whole person development approach of learning to develop such graduates (Bennis & O’Toole, 2005).
Person development programmes in tertiary education in Hong Kong emphasize simultaneous acquisition of whole person knowledge in all subjects. This accounts for emotional, cognitive, and behavioural learning aspects, which instils different skills in graduates. Traditional methods of teaching often overlooked a whole person development, which emphasizes both behavioural and emotional skills among graduates. These are prerequisites for introducing core skills into all-round skills in graduates.
In student affairs, the development of the whole person is the basis of core functions found in a community of scholarship and studies. Tertiary education institutions in Hong Kong acknowledge that promoting a whole person development is vital for graduates’ training. This implies that the institutions care about their graduates’ well-being and all-round developments (Lee, 2007).
To enhance these programmes, tertiary education in Hong Kong must rely on experimental learning to provide a comprehensive and rigorous education agenda to their students. As such, tertiary education should concentrate on delivering content oriented education.
Tertiary education must produce graduates who are personally responsible in their environments. Whole person development programmes have several learning dimensions, which include cognition, emotions, and behaviour. Learning is both direct and vicarious. This ensures active involvement of students at all times during learning and teaching (Boyatzis & Taylor, 2002).
Societal expectation such as employers, parents, and high school teachers towards whole person development in tertiary education in Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, different perspectives of societal expectations towards whole person development exist. Several individuals believe that tertiary education should produce graduates who meet employers and communities’ needs. As such, the society expects graduates to have a broad range of skills, positive attitudes, abilities to cope with others, and serve the society.
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This differs from exam-oriented elites of the past. It is imperative to note that the past curriculum could only meet these skills partially. Tertiary education in Hong Kong has incorporated the whole person development programmes to meet the expectations of various stakeholders in education and society.
Changes in the society have created the need for whole person development programmes. Such changes have forced tertiary colleges to invent new methods of training graduates. People look upon their leaders to show them directions during difficult situations. Leaders must rely on their core skills in order to produce the desired changes in society (Schwant, 2005). Whole person development programmes must produce such leaders.
In Hong Kong, the society expect whole person development programmes to produce graduates who have core values, which they can use in society to propel their teams to greatness. Equally, they expect the program to instil transformational leadership styles in graduates.
Skills applied in the past years can no longer match the demands of a shifting world. On a positive note, these changes in the society have led to creativity, the need to create a balance, and the desire among graduates to create long-lasting impacts in the society.
Graduates and tertiary colleges respond to these shifts by adapting to changing needs of the society. However, experiences can still provide valuable lessons, but not necessarily the required solution for these changes (Graen & Taylor, 2006). Society expects true leaders from tertiary institutions of Hong Kong. This goes beyond learned skills and behaviours. Thus, the solution is to produce integrated whole person development programmes, which produce graduates with all-round skills.
Discoveries of the 20th century led people to high-levels of specialisation. Scientific and technological advancement created graduates who had skills in focused fields, specialised areas, and mainly in sub-disciplines. Thus, professionals had high-levels of skills in limited areas. As such, they were generally clueless in other fields. However, the 21st century brought about it changes. The 21st century required all-round graduates who could survive and thrive in a dynamic environment.
With the introduction of whole person development programmes in tertiary institutions in Hong Kong, the society expects current graduates to possess positive attributes that will enable them to thrive in the dynamic 21st century environment. Tertiary education in Hong Kong has considered these factors in order to create the whole person development programmes, which would produce graduates who will meet the society’s expectations.
One major aim of tertiary education in Hong Kong is to encourage personal growth among its graduates. In addition, education also aims to promote continuous learning, develop intellectual abilities, and integrate various skills in core areas. Tertiary institutions in Hong Kong support the growth of whole person development programmes through their curriculum. At the same time, the whole person development has become a central value of education in the Hong Kong’s society.
Whole person development programmes aim at creating graduates who can cater for society’s collective values and goals, which have effects on the entire society. These reflect the need for a continuous growth through education. Whole person development programmes create graduates who will serve a great cause for a society as they fulfil their aspirations too.
Facilitating factors of teaching and learning whole person development programmes in Hong Kong
Tertiary institutions in Hong Kong have noted that higher education has evolved to define graduates’ outcomes and cater for the dynamic needs of the society.
Whole person development programmes have been critical in developing these needs. Past studies have guided tertiary institutions to formulate curriculum, which could respond to intellectual development, emotional growth, moral, and personal growth of learners. Thus, the society has an insight of what graduates should be after completing training (Yip, 2007).
Some factors that have facilitated the teaching and learning the whole person development programmes in Hong Kong have been discussed below. Educators have realised the need to create a curriculum that encourages broad and balanced learning for graduates. The essence of a whole person development is to allow graduates to achieve wide and balanced experiences during their training programmes.
They get a wide range of experiences from various fields to develop their potential, which relate to creativity, emotional intelligence, interpersonal relations, motor skills, social responsibilities, and other skills required today. Whole person development programmes recognise learners’ participation and achievement in academic programmes, sports, games, and other co-curricular activities.
Such training programmes develop learners’ self-confidence, motivation, and emotions to allow them survive under various circumstances. Therefore, the need to produce effective and competitive graduates has spearheaded teaching and learning whole person development programmes in Hong Kong (Kolb, 2005).
The need to have sustainable students’ developments in Hong Kong has facilitated the teaching and learning of whole person programmes in Hong Kong (Rubin, 2005). In this regard, tertiary education nurtures core skills for the future among graduates. Whole person development programmes assist learners to take part in other activities for a holistic development.
These skills are useful after schooling. Graduates would apply them in their communication and interaction with others. In addition, they also create long-lasting positive experiences among the students. In this manner, tertiary education in Hong Kong has been able to develop and sustain a whole person development among graduates.
Equally, emerging challenges of the 21st century have propelled institutions of higher learning to adopt the whole person development programmes (Nuss, 2003). Unlike before, emerging markets require graduates who are creative, effective, and have effective communication skills. Therefore, tertiary institutions in Hong Kong have been left with no choice but to adapt to the changing market demands.
To meet these demands, these institutions have adopted the whole person development programmes. As a result, whole person development programmes have provided unique opportunities for learners with different abilities to explore their potential in various fields (Braxton, 2009). Learners can have deep reflection and engage in various learning aspects in which they have interests. Overall, effects of whole person development programmes have raised learners’ achievements in all fields.
In conclusion, it should be noted that educators have recognised the importance of developing affective and cognitive skills among the learners. However, some educators are reluctant to promote personal growth among students.
They base their arguments on personality theories, which note that it is difficult to change personality structures from early developmental stages. Others have argued that personality originates from the childhood stage long before the higher education period, and the same could be true of other elements like individual maturity, personal responsibility, and abilities to integrate various skills.
These views have strived to show that tertiary education could not change students to be what they could not be. Thus, it was pointless for educators to engage in personal growth among students. However, these views have changed in the 21st century. Co-curricular and extra-curricular activities have emerged to support traditional approaches of training of graduates.
In general, the whole person development programmes in Hong Kong has created graduates who can respond effectively to different situations in the society. In this regard, other tertiary institutions around the globe should encourage the adoption of the whole person development programmes in their curriculums to enhance creativity among their graduates.
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